Chronicle View Story, November 7, 2003

By [email protected]

Re: The Chronicles View, U Sets Example for Dream ActBy Tariq Robert Hamud, Graduate Student, MPA Program

The title of the Chronicle’s recent editorial, “U Sets Example for Dream Act” is correct. The U and the Utah State Legislature is setting an example with the so-called “Dream Act,” a horrible example. The Dream Act is perhaps one of the most irresponsible pieces of legislation ever proposed not only in Utah, but in state legislatures around the entire nation.

If passed, the measure would allow undocumented immigrants from anywhere, including outside of the United States, to migrate to Utah virtually unchecked and receive what amounts to an essentially free education. The new students created by the Dream Act would not have to undergo background checks, would not be obligated to pay state income taxes and many would also be able to take advantage of racial quotas under affirmative action as well as scholarships and other forms of financial aid presently reserved for documented students.

If the act becomes law, no one will know who these new students are or where they come from. In addition, the positions they fill at Utah colleges and universities such as the U would take away from the current student body which presently includes hundreds of different nationalities and minority groups, all of which have their own stories of personal struggles and triumphs that are just as heartbreaking and noteworthy than those of undocumented immigrants.

However, supporters of the Dream Act want people to turn a blind eye to the people who worked hard to get to the U the right way. They want to turn their backs on the millions of documented immigrants and minorities in this nation’s rich history who fought adversity in such forms as poverty and discrimination, simply for the opportunity of living the American Dream without asking for any type of free ride or special status.

Meanwhile, during discussions of the charity event known as the Dream Act, those legal, hardworking students at the U are feeling the struggles of receiving a top-quality education during this era of difficult financial times.

The Utah Board of Regents just last week voted to raise tuition at every state college and university as many as two times in the next year to compensate for dwindling state revenues. This is already on top of the enrollment freeze enacted at the U to protect the universities nationally-acclaimed programs from significant budget cuts or outright elimination. Since the current state budget is not enough to fit current educational needs, students and taxpayers will be continually asked to foot the bill with significantly higher fees and rates when hundreds if not thousands of undocumented immigrants suddenly enter Utah’s colleges and universities. The money is simply not available for a flood of new students in the state’s higher education system, documented or undocumented.

In addition, the Utah State Legislature has made it virtually impossible for residents who come from other states to establish residency in Utah. Many of these students work full time, pay large amounts of state income tax and settle in Utah for the rest of their lives, thus contributing greatly to the state’s economy. Yet these students still are denied full rights of existing Utah residents. In these cases, hard work is punished while undocumented immigrants with mysterious backgrounds are rewarded in a preferential manner over these other students.

It is evident that the proponents of the Dream Act such as the Chronicle and the Utah Legislature did not think about the thousands of students in this state that they would hurt by attempting to ratify the measure as law. They would also be limiting the numbers of legal minorities attending Utah colleges and universities, who will be disenfranchised from the high quality education that the undocumented immigrants would now receive. Please explain to me how this measure is humanitarian and just?