Two Cobb Democrats want in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
January 13, 2012 12:37 AM | 9548 views | 102 102 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MABLETON — State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) wants to allow illegal immigrants the opportunity to pay in-state tuition to attend Georgia’s public universities.

State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell), who joined her Thursday night at a town hall meeting at the South Cobb Community Center where she announced her proposal, said he agrees with her.

Morgan told the group of about two dozen people that she came up with the idea after meeting with students at Pebblebrook High School who participated in a walk-out last year.

“As I listened to these students, who are 3.8 GPA students, doing very well in school, and there are a couple of them who are about to graduate, once they graduated from high school they actually have no options in terms of college,” Morgan said. “Why? Because they’re undocumented.”

The illegal immigrants are not eligible to pay in-state tuition, she said.

“If you cut off that potential at the end of high school, and they have no other options, what are they supposed to do?” Morgan asked. “Where do they work? Where do they live? How do they pay taxes? How do they give back to society? These are kids who are brought here at 3 or 4 years old who consider themselves American by culture. They don’t know anything about the country that their parents are from. And so we’re penalizing these kids who have worked hard, who have gone through our school systems, who have earned their grades, and we are cutting them off in terms of college accessibility. We’re not asking for special privileges. They’ve been a resident.”

Morgan asked the audience to raise their hands if they were in support of her filing a bill to allow for illegal immigrants to be eligible for in-state tuition. When she asked the audience to raise their hands if they opposed her filing such a bill, no one did.

“Well if I was ever wondering if I should do something about it, I think I just got some confirmation,” Morgan said.

Wilkerson said such a bill, if signed into law, would cut down on high school dropouts.

“I think it’s a great opportunity because what’s happening right now is you are seeing children that are doing well in school get to be about 12, 13, 14 and then they realize there’s nothing for them after that, so why even go to school?” Wilkerson said. “So if they’re going to be here, then educate them or give them that opportunity. But at the end of the day the federal government has to do something about it.”

In 2006, state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) passed the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, which said in part that illegal immigrants couldn’t attend state public universities, said immigration activist D.A. King, president of the Cobb-based Dustin Inman Society. In 2010, King filed a complaint, saying the Georgia Board of Regents were ignoring this law. King said the Regents made a compromise by banning illegal immigrants from attending five Georgia universities that send out rejection letters because of full classrooms, such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, but King said the Regents continue to allow illegal immigrants to attend other universities and technical schools provided they pay out-of-state tuition. So last year, state Rep. Tom Rice (R-Gwinnett) filed HB 59, a bill that would strengthen Rogers’ original legislation. That bill has yet to be approved.

King, who was not at the meeting, seized on Morgan’s comment about illegal immigrants not being able to work because they were deprived of higher education.

“Where are they going to work?” King asked. “They can’t legally work. They are illegal aliens.”

Like the majority of Georgians, King said his compassion is more directed at the hopeful young U.S. citizens and legal immigrants watching jobs, benefits and services go to illegal immigrants who escaped capture at the country’s borders.

“The idea that we should force weary taxpayers to take another hit in the wallet to subsidize a college education for students who are ineligible for employment upon graduation is an extreme and mindless concept. Even if there were a surplus of jobs,” King said.

King said he couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the illegal immigrants who were used as “an enforcement shield by their conniving and shameless parents when brought here in violation of our immigration laws. They are clearly the victims of child abuse by those fugitive parents.”

He gives HB 59 a much better chance of becoming law than Morgan’s proposal seeing a committee vote.

“It may be all the rage in what remains of California, but I will watch with amusement while such a bill gathers dust and ridicule under the Gold Dome,” King said. “Let’s all say ‘transparent pandering’ together. In English.”

Morgan said she hasn’t decided whether to address the matter in the form or a bill or a resolution.

“We’re in the process now of doing the research,” she said. “There are lots of states that have already done it. Some are considering it.”

Morgan also said she expected there to be backlash to her proposal from “people who are more concerned about the issue of immigration and not focused on education and the potential of students.”

She told the audience that she has long wished for a legislator exchange program to give lawmakers a more rounded experience of what communities are like that they don’t represent.

“I hate to say this, but I think about Newt Gingrich and some of the things that he says. It’s like, do you know any black people?” Morgan said. “There’s a clip on TV where he’s saying he would go and talk to the NAACP and talk about pay checks instead of food stamps. It’s like, do you understand? Are you sensitive to the people of this country, not just the three or four folks that you know who hang out at the country club with you, but real people, and that’s I think one of the biggest challenges we face in the legislature. Until you have the experience yourself I think you are less likely to understand the experiences of someone else.”
Comments
(102)
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R Goodden
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January 16, 2012
As has been pointed out on these pages in related stories, the federal E-Verify program is the immediately available answer to the problem of illegals flaunting our laws and stealing jobs or tax revenues.

But the mainstream media continue to falsely suggest our only options are to reward illegals with citizenship -- or physically round them all up.

The E-Verify program can confirm eligibility for work, social benefits or college placement ... in seconds! Expanded use of E-Verify will be the single most important factor in reversing the illegals problem -- a problem Democrats and the mainstream media seemingly don't want solved.
educator4
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January 15, 2012
OMG--You are a bunch of idiots making absurd posts. If you are such strong Republicans, then educate yourselves. Aren't you Constitutionalists? Then read the 14th Amendment--Bill of Rights and Plyer vs. Doe...and get an education before mouthing about something you have absolutely no knowledge about in any way, shape or form. You are just Emotionalists!!
Randi Gomez
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January 17, 2012
You may want to educate yourself educator4 - plyler v doer appllies ONLY to k-12 education. None of the other documents you list here ( typical liberal) say we must reward illegal behavior with tax dollars. Who is the ignorant angry emotionalist? Really?
Kennesaw Resident
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January 18, 2012
I sure hope that are not teaching this information incorrectly as it only applies to K-12!
educator4
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January 15, 2012
As an educator, I am highly insulted that some educators are so ignorant. Logistically, we educate "non-documented"--not illegal--individuals grades K-12. This is the law!!!! Now, you want to spend the thousands of dollars spent on their education, transportation and dietary needs and simply say,"Go Home" once they have successfully graduated? Home? You are sending these students to a country that most do not even remember. An analogy would be that you own a company and train a computer technician for 12 years. Now, after the 12 year training, you fire him. Does that sound reasonable? So, why are you firing our children that had nothing to do with crossing the borders? Why do you hold the children responsible?
Educator 2
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January 16, 2012
I want to stop our limited education resources from being siphoned off ... by illegals. A country foolish enough not to enforce its immigration laws will only see more illegals. When you reward lawbreaking you get more of it.

Which is something we just cannot afford, especially in this continuing economic recession.
mk-cry me a river
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January 16, 2012
....you say tomay-to, ....and I say tomah-to!

Tomay-to-tomah-to,.. illegal,..undocumented,.. s'all de same, baby, all de same!!
Frankie58
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January 15, 2012
“If you cut off that potential at the end of high school, and they have no other options, what are they supposed to do?”.....How about this novel little idea Ms. Morgan....THEY BECOME LEGAL CITIZENS. Whats next are you going to want them to be eligable for HOPE too??? Legislating on emotion will and has become very expensive, look at the financial state of California...a mere step away from Bankruptcy.

CLASSROOMCOST
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January 14, 2012
Factoider made a great point about the cost to educate children in the Cobb County schools but got the figure wrong. The cost for the "average" child is still well above $8,000 per year and for a "special population" (think non-English speaking students) it is MUCH higher since they need extra services in the way of additional teachers and educational materials. The COST to the other students that are held back in classes with these students with language barriers is unbearably high. Since we are such a lovely politically correct and sensitive society we gladly allow our kids to be slowed down in the name of "inclusion," "diversity" and "sensitivity."
Choppy Seas
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January 14, 2012
Hey Alicia, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Jo1906
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January 14, 2012
The time has come for all this to stop....ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. It is a very difficult situation..but hard decisions must be made. To make these allowances sends the message that it is okay to enter this country illegally. We make too many allowances for those entering this country illegally. Entitlements and benefits must be stopped. Why are undocumented children allowed to enter our school system. Once identified the children and their parents should be sent back. Same for illegal workers. ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. addIf a ; entitlements/benefits.
Larietta
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January 14, 2012
“I hate to say this, but I think about Newt Gingrich and some of the things that he says. It’s like, do you know any black people?” Morgan said.

This is a RACIST remark. Please step down from office for this comment. Your lack of intelligence, decency, and citizenship scare the he!! out of us good american. If you were a white person, you would be demanding what I have suggested. What a piece of garbage you are.
Voter Sentinel
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January 14, 2012
On the heels of this blundering recommendation, it won't be long until Morgan will be seeking authorization permitting illegal aliens to vote.

Liberals in many areas of the country are working to make this happen now.

Wake up people... Illegal matriculation is simply illegal. Similar to the "Field of Dreams" theme, this country has built and openly provided the field, the illegal aliens safe harbor.

Stop the incentives and the biggest part of the puzzle is solved.
Atlanta Prof
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January 14, 2012
First, let's have a lesson and all understand that a human being is NOT and can NOT be illegal. How can a human being be "illegal". As I live, work, and teach in the South, I continue to see a few individuals who stereotype, practice prejudicial behavior, and exert racism at every opportunity and unfortunately these individuals do so by using inaccurate and misleading information. To that end, let's now have a lesson on paying taxes. Please understand that individuals who are working "without papers" are indeed paying taxes to their employers. These taxes are being withheld from their paychecks, sometimes under false social security numbers. These excess funds are being used to support America now. Also, let's now have a shopping lesson: when we buy goods and services we pay taxes. Have you ever been to a store and the had a clerk ask, "are you legal or illegal" because only legal residents pay taxes. On the contrary, all people pay taxes in many forms: property taxes whether they own or rent a property, income tax on any type of earned income, car tag tax, shopping, etc. Come on Georgians! Let's remember how America was founded and continue to give chances to these young, educated, productive, willing, and young folks who are already linguistically and culturally American from their upbringing and education. Stop the prejudicial behavior and make the South Proud! Begin reading and studying if you need to widen your perspective. Sir Francis Bacon said it best, "Knowledge is Power"

VFP42
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January 14, 2012
In-state tuition means one thing: taxes for state residents. In-state tuition should be eliminated along with the taxes that allow for it!!

There should be one tuition price for everybody who goes to school. Every college student should pay one price: tuition.

The 90% of Georgians who do not go to college should not be forced to pay the way for the top 10% to get a discount. The top 10% should pay their own way!

End in-state tuition and the taxes that pay for it TODAY!!!!

In-state tuition is just another example of the well-to-do living on the backs of the rest of us.
Big Dawg
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January 21, 2012
The State University System is supported by the taxpaying citizens of Georgia for the benefit of our students. If you come from another state (or country) it is only logical that you pay for the privilege of using the resources that Georgia taxpayers are providing for our citizens.

I am sure that if I were to apply to the University for (insert foreign country here) that I would be charged sizable sum for the opportunity.
EduKtr
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January 14, 2012
I'm a teacher and I find it annoying that the local teachers union (Georgia Association of Educators) involves itself in this issue -- supporting the liberal Democrat side, as always.

Giving illegals rewards only encourages more illegal immigration, and in this case robs legal residents of education resources.

And I'm sure these same two Democrat legislators fought against expanded use of the federal E-Verify program to prevent illegals from stealing Georgia jobs.
just wonderin'
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January 14, 2012
Dear EduKtr,

If you really are a teacher, then you must know that there is no teacher's union in Georgia. A professional association that provides classroom insurance and legal representation does not a union make.
EduKtr
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January 14, 2012
If you really wish to inform yourself, "just wonderin," about teacher unions -- do a Google search on "NEA" and "union".

All GAE members must pay $130 yearly to concurrently belong to the NEA. Then they must watch helplessly while the NEA uses part of that money to support President Obama's 2012 campaign.
Jane W.
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January 14, 2012
Yes, Just Wonderin, there is a teachers' union in Georgia, and if you belong to Georgia Association of Educators (CCAE locally) -- you belong to this union.

A good chunk of those yearly dues you pay GAE goes directly to its parent union, the National Education Association. A quick search on "NEA" and "union" will enlighten you.

And by the way, in YOUR name the NEA has already endorsed and funded Obama's re-election.
just wonderin'
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January 14, 2012
Jane and EduKtr,

Just because the GAE sends a portion of the funds they take from you to their parent association in Washington, D.C. still doesn't make them a union. Undoubtedly you are upset because you don't want them to endorse any thing Obama does, but that doesn't make them a union. A union provides bargaining services on behalf of its members and usually also lobbies on behalf of those same members; an association can provide only lobbying services on behalf of its members, as well as professional insurance, legal help, a newsletter and maybe even a magazine. There's a difference between lobbying and bargaining. A union works for better working conditions for its members and uses the power of collective bargaining to help get those conditions. In the case of Georgia, it's a moot point, because Georgia is a right-to-work state.

Teacher's Unions
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January 14, 2012
There are not teacher's unions who REPRESENT a collective bargaining unit for teachers in their specific school districts. However, teachers may still belong to a union. Most of them do to obtain liability insurance.
just wonderin'
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January 15, 2012
Dear Jane and EduKtr,

I have informed myself, that's how I know that there's a difference between a union and an association. For starters, one is voluntary, one is mandatory. Associations lobby; unions lobby but also engage in collective bargaining on behalf of their members.

Hate on Obama all you want--there's still no teacher's union in Georgia.
ObZerver
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January 15, 2012
The National Education Association states on its website it's a union. It is registered with the federal government as a union. And all GAE members must sign on to NEA membership.

So either the NEA/GAE are greatly misinformed ... or "just wonderin" is.
Charles Rogers
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January 20, 2012
Well the union is ripping off the worker and the taxpayer. So when you work for those sleaze bags and pay them dues you are supporting their communist goals. so why act surprised when they surprisingly get involve politically with a subject when unions were never needed. So yes everybody do your research alright by starting with reading the book called The Naked Communist. If every American did that we might could save our country from moral bankruptcy.
To "ANONYMOUS"
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January 14, 2012
This has NOTHING to do with being racist or racism. It has to do with doing something LEGAL vs ILLEGAL. If you come into our country, please do so LEGALLY. Do what you need to do to make sure you are compliant with the US Law. IF you intend to stay in this country for the lifetime of your child - then BECOME A CITIZEN. THEN you will be ENTITLED to the priviliges of ALL American Citizens. Do NOT expect the American citizens to provide you with benefits.
steveOlsen
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January 14, 2012
This is unfair to those who take the effort to become legal. At 18 a child brought here by their parents is suppose to return home. They have 6 months to return on a student visa, or residency. (moved to front of line) If they do, they pay out of state tuition.

If the don't go home and come back legally, they are going to be rewarded with in state tuition? These in state tuition laws are nothing more than bribes for people to break the law.
Demidow
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January 14, 2012
Poor American citizens, especially those dopes who don't realize that the Democrat Party it the OPEN BORDERS,INTERNATIONALIST,PARTY OF CHAOS. The Democrat Party is the bank of foreign nationals. It built a very huge ATM machine called the American taxpayer, and it's used to solve corrupt Mexico's social problems.
namtah
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January 13, 2012
Wait. There are democrats in Cobb County?
Another Morgan...
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January 13, 2012
what are they supposed to do?” Morgan asked

What they're supposed to do is make their parents either apply for citizenship THE LEGAL WAY and apply for citizenship themselves. Until they are US CITIZENS they are not ENTITLED to TAXPAYER MONEY! Undocumented? ILLEGAL!

Either do it the LEGAL way or GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY and stay undocumented.

anonymous
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January 20, 2012
They can always go and get a job with MALDEF, getting paid to go into our schools and teach social justice. They can become community organizers and then get jobs in the Obama administration. They can go to KSU and have Dan Papp get them rides home from jail if they get caught driving without a license.

Heather11111
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January 13, 2012
If they are doing so well in school with high GPA's, that must mean they are smart. Then go take the legalization test and become legal citizens.
tapped out ltaxpayer
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January 13, 2012
Once again Democrats prove that they will spend any amount of our money necessary to buy votes to keep or gain power.

Morgan and Wilkerson have go to go.
East cobb
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January 13, 2012
Alisha Thomas Morgan wants to know where these kids are going to work if they are not allowed to have in state tuition available to them. I don't know, since they are here illegally from Mexico, how about they go back to Mexico and find a job?
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