By: Margarita Baldwin*
In a recent article “Anti-Immigration Group Blames Students for Maryland Budget’s Gap” written by Walter Ewingand published on www. Immigrationimpact.org web site (one of the American Immigration Council Project), the author sharply criticizes the conclusion made by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR asserts that unauthorized immigrant students or students with unauthorized immigrant parents are the key problem of Maryland’s financial woes. Talk about finding a scapegoat of society’s woes! However, to target parents can only result in negative rebounds on the children of our society.
FAIR is a nonprofit organization of “concerned citizens” who declare that their purpose is to “advocate immigration policies that will best serve American . . . interests. ” FAIR explains that according to its calculations unauthorized immigrant students cost Maryland taxpayers $1.3 billion, specifically, K-12 education. They disregard the fact that 69% of those students are US citizens, although the children of illegal immigrant parents. FAIR argues that if not for the illegal immigrant parents, those children would not be in the US; and therefore, they would not be an expense to the US taxpayers. Also, if the parents were deported, the children would likely follow their parents. According to FAIR, these kids are only an “expense” and everybody would be relieved if they leave the country. FAIR seriously grieves that “those U.S.-born children are not deportable like their parents.”
FAIR also argues that under “Maryland DREAM Act” the unauthorized immigrant students would be a heavier burden to the budget when they grow up and become eligible for in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges. In order to solve this problem, FAIR suggests “attrition through enforcement” strategy. That means that under some conditions the illegal immigrants will willfully leave the US taking their children with them. Still, the crucial factor is left out by FAIR’s blunt narrow-mindedness. It is important to recognize that most of those students are the future of the United States. They will soon become American workers, consumers, entrepreneurs and, finally, taxpayers; and it is in the best interest of the US economy to educate these children to allow them contribute to this country’s future when they grow up.
It is clear that the fiscal effect of unauthorized immigrants is not FAIR’s primary worry. FAIR concludes that there is the “the impact on the education of other students if the learning environment is negatively affected by students with limited English language proficiency.” FAIR goes on explaining that “social cohesion may be strained by foreign language communications barriers.” These comments are applied to all non-English speaking immigrants. This reveals FAIR’s true ideology hidden behind the financial concerns –xenophobia – as the author of the article sums up: “they never met an immigrant they didn’t dislike.”
*Margarita Baldwin is a legal intern at Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates, P.C.