Lawmakers, advocacy groups and members of the media have been touting a lot of facts and monetary figures regarding the proposed immigration bill called the DREAM Act. And to make matters worse, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has introduced four different versions of the bill, hoping one will find favor with members of Congress.
While the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors) legislation may have admirable intentions in a time of severe economic duress, American children are the ones falling behind and losing their opportunities for higher education.
Take California for example, the state is seeing red to the tune of $20 billion per year and included in the cutbacks are colleges. As a result college tuition has increased at least 10 percent and public colleges have already authorized another 10 percent increase for the year 2011-12 school year.
Big deal say DREAM Act advocates, American’s will just pay the increase and still get their college educations.
Let’s take San Diego State University (SDSU), once a famous party school, college admissions have seen record applications and the majority of applicants will be turned away.
SDSU received more than 60,000 undergraduate applications for the fall 2011 semester as well as 8,000 spring applications. The total undergraduate applicants for the fall were 44,623 and 16,946 applicants applied as upper-division transfer students.
“SDSU continues to be a first-choice university for applicants and for good reason,'” said Ethan Singer, SDSU associate vice president for academic affairs. “The quality of students attending SDSU is the best it's ever been, the faculty and staff are committed to providing students with a top-notch university education and SDSU offers a dynamic student experience as well as career opportunities in some of the most high-demand fields in our economy.”
The university contends it will be unknown for awhile as to how many students will be accepted next fall due to the uncertainties regarding state funding. However they have 3,400 freshmen who began college this semester as well as 2,400 transfer students for a total of 5,800.
SDSU says they will most likely only take 3,000 undergraduates for the spring 2011 semester. Moreover, statewide, the California State University System received more than 611,000 applications and many of these prospective students will be turned away. (Currently there are 430,000 students enrolled, but most campuses are reducing enrollment as a way to deal with state cutbacks.)
And if that isn’t depressing enough for students, the University of California employees are taking part in a statewide protest today. The workers are fighting an upcoming regents’ vote to cut retirement benefits.
The fact that California cannot accept all students applying for college must have escaped the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosawhose city is not only facing insurmountable budget issues, but it is suffering one of the highest high school drop out rates.
“Congress has another chance to make history,” Mayor Villaraigosa said during a news conference at East Los Angeles College. “I urge them to help make the dreams of millions of young people come true by passing the DREAM Act. Giving these young people a path toward citizenship is not only the right thing to do, it is an investment in our country's future,'' he finished.
However grand a perfect world would be, the country as a whole is broke and Washington politicians can’t even figure out how to keep the federal government running; let alone pass a piece of legislation that amounts to amnesty. (Once the DREAM Act applicants get their legal status they could begin the process of petitioning for their parents, brothers and sisters as well as other family members to immigrate to America in the name of family reunification.)
It is now being reported by the Daily Caller that colleges are now encouraging students to apply for food stamps as a way to survive and continue to pay the skyrocketing university costs. Universities like, Cornell, Portland State and Des Moines State include “how to apply for food stamps” on their financial aid section of their websites.
“Almost 14 percent of the entire U.S. population now receives some sort of government aid. The use of food stamps, in particular, has grown dramatically. There are at least 6 million more Americans receiving government food assistance this year than last, for a total of more than 42 million people,” the Daily Callersaid.
Read article here: http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/07/thedc-investigation-universities-encouraging-students-to-receive-welfare-benefits/#ixzz17Ro0okTq
In California it gets much worse under Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s food stamp program has been redesigned to take away the “stigma” and make it easier for more state residents to receive government aid in the form of ATM cards.
“I am so thrilled that The Modern House Call for Women served as the platform to kick-off the CalFresh rebranding effort for the Food Stamp Program,” Schwarzenegger’s wife Maria Shriver said. “As we have traveled up and down the state raising awareness of this program through WE Connect, I have seen first-hand the extraordinary impact that this program has in the lives of families. This rebranding campaign will go a long way in helping to erase the unfortunate stigma associated with this program and encourage families to seek CalFresh as a resource for putting healthy meals on their table.”
Center for Immigration Studies crunches the numbers- Cost per year is $6.2 billion
The Washington D.C. think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies, delved into the financial consequences of the DREAM Act. The analysis in its report is based on the development of the Migration Policy Institute, which used the latest 2006 to 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. The following are some of the CIS findings.
· Assuming no fraud, we conservatively estimate that 1.03 million illegal immigrants will eventually enroll in public institutions (state universities or community colleges) as a result of the DREAM Act. That is, they met the residence and age requirements of the act, have graduated high school, or will do so, and will come forward.
· On average each illegal immigrant who attends a public institution will receive a tuition subsidy from taxpayers of nearly $6,000 for each year he or she attends for total cost of $6.2 billion a year, not including other forms of financial assistance that they may also receive.
· The DREAM Act does not provide funding to states and counties to cover the costs it imposes. Since enrollment and funding are limited at public institutions, the act’s passage will require some combination of tuition increases, tax increases to expand enrollment or a reduction in spaces available for American citizens at these schools.
· Tuition hikes will be particularly difficult for students, as many Americans already find it difficult to pay for college. Research indicates that one out of three college students drop out before receiving a degree. Costs are a major reason for the high dropout rate.
Furthermore CIS found any future tax benefit the advocates of the DREAM Act are claiming in the long-term will not help public colleges deal with the large influx of new students the DREAM Act will create. “Given limited spaces at public institutions, there will almost certainly be some crowding out of U.S. citizens therefore reducing their lifetime earnings and tax payments.”
CIS also reported that the DREAM Act only requires two years of college with no requirements of a four-year degree. “The income gains for having some college, but no degree, are modest.”
They concluded that the $6.2 billion yearly taxpayer cost will not be made up over the next 10 years.
Congressional Budget Office’s DREAM Act figures
The CBO released its cost estimate of bill 3992 of the DREAM Act. The CBO found that “putting thousands of young, undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years.” However, CIS found it would cost the taxpayer $6.2 billion per year in tuition subsidies leaving a deficit of $4.8 billion per year.
Just as the Obama Administration said the health care legislation would bend the cost curve down, giving college tuition subsides to at least a million illegal children will not bend the cost curve down it will actually do the opposite, according to CIS. Plus many reports say the DREAM Act will take university slots away from American children, whose parents were born and raised in this country.
The CBO also concluded there would be an increase in authorized workers (a moot point because America faces 9.8 percent unemployment rate) that would affect individual and corporate income taxes. Taking that into consideration CBO said those changes would increase taxpayer revenues by $2.3 billion over 10 years, these estimates came from the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). Again this is far short of the $6.2 billion (in annualized) tuition costs assessed against American taxpayers.
DREAM Act advocates and opponents make their case
Groups like the National Council of La Raza believes it’s time for members of Congress to show which side they stand on so voters can take their positions into account for the next election.
“This vote will reveal whether they stand with the Latino community and these young people who want to serve and contribute to the only country they have ever called home. Make no mistake—the Latino community will be watching this vote closely. The time for hiding behind excuses and moving the goal posts is over,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “We strongly urge both parties in Congress to work together on legislation that is important to Latinos and other Americans. Passing the ‘DREAM Act’ would be a critical first step.”
However Carmen Morales, a Latino activist and a leader of a Latino coalition, assembled leaders to speak out against the DREAM Act in Washington D.C. “We are here to send a strong message to Congress that as Latinos, we stand staunchly opposed to any measure that puts Americans at a disadvantage and rewards illegal behavior.”
According to congressional statements and the Migration Policy Institute, if passed, the bill could potentially grant amnesty to as many as 2.1 million illegal immigrants. With unemployment officially at 9.8 percent this is a huge mistake, says Morales.
“I think progressives and conservatives alike can agree on the need to support working and middle-class citizens during a depressed economy,” said Leah Durant, Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. “This bill would provide in-state tuition rates and residency benefits to illegal immigrant students.”
In the age of entitlements, growing deficits threaten the country’s economic existence and instead of providing jobs and independence Washington D.C. continues its quest to ensnare more and more Americans into a government addiction- one that is hard to break.
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