Letter: Complying With Immigration Law
To the Editor:
I sponsored the in-state tuition bill that was signed into law by Gov. John Lynch and was the subject of the Concord Monitor editorial you published on Aug. 30 (“In-State Tuition; a Hard-Hearted Approach in N.H.)
This was the right course for New Hampshire. In 1996, Congress passed — and President Bill Clinton signed into law —the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Section 1623 of this law prohibits state colleges from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the state” unless the same rates are offered to all U.S. citizens.
Today, 12 states circumvent this law, and the legal arguments offered to justify such actions are untenable, no matter what other policy arguments are offered in their defense. Because at least one U.S. Court of Appeals has held that there is no private right of action under the specific statute in question, the Justice Department must enforce this statutory provision against states that have violated federal law. Yet even as it sues states such as Arizona and Alabama for trying to assist the enforcement of federal immigration law, the U.S. government refuses to sue states that are brazenly violating an unambiguous federal immigration law. Such inaction is unacceptable: The president and the attorney general have an obligation to enforce every provision of federal immigration regulations.
The 12 states that offer in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens (California, Texas, New York, Utah, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Maryland,and Connecticut) do so based on flimsy distinctions that likely violate the federal statute. These states are encouraging illegal immigration, forcing taxpayers to subsidize the education of illegal aliens and unfairly punishing students from out-of-state who are U.S. citizens.
The Justice Department has an obligation to enforce federal law and take action against these 12 states.
Rep. Joe Duarte