The Chronicle’s View: A chance for a better tomorrow

T he Utah State Legislature, in anethical move consistent with itshistorical stance, passed a motionto study the constitutionality of grantingrights to undocumented immigrants lastweek.As opposed to voting in fav or of Rep .Glenn Donnelson’s, R-North Ogden, billrepealing Utah’s 3-year-old policy of grantingin-state tuition to any and all students,documented or otherwise, that complete anaccredited Utah high school educational program,the Legislature opted to take its timeon the complicated issue and thoroughlystudy the current statute’s legal implicationsbeforema king a de cision in the matter.A charge of unconstitutionality hasrecently been brought against the state’spolicy, arguing that its current policy contradictsfederal codes.However, the validity of this claim is stillyet to be determined.As such, the Legislature’s choice to deferits decision is a wise and advisable one.As it stands now, the Legislature’s policyof granting in-state tuition to high-schoolgraduates does a great deal of good for acommunity which, without the state’s help,might not be able to see its adolescentsobtain a secondary education.It is this fact that Legislators must keepin mind while deliberating over the fateof Donnelson’s bill. It does much to showthe constitutionality of the state’s currentpolicy.The issue becomes one where, regardlessof documentation, civil liberties are beingwithheld from upstanding, contributingmembers of society. This is unfair and un-American.The fact is the children of undocumentedparents are no more or less capable, andpending their completion of an accreditedhigh school program, no less deserving ofthe opportunity to further their educationsand lives.It is a commonly-known fact that socioeconomicstanding is directly linked to thedegree of education an individual receives.Therefore, to deny students the opportunityto advance their education is to effectivelydeny these students the opportunityto better their lives. A large number ofthese students’ families simply do not havethe financial resources to send their sonsand daughters to college without the state’sassistance. This shows that, regardless ofwhat is said by detractors, a move to dissolveUtah’s allowance of in-state tuition iscategorically a move to dissolve the chancefor many to achieve their dreams.It is also elitist and xenophobic to saythat individuals whose parents are notnaturalized Americans are any less adept atpursuing an education, which is implied byany motion to remove from these individualsthe opportunity to go to college.It is paradoxically un-American, andtherefore decidedly unconstitutional, todeny common liberties to individuals basedon their parents’ citizenship, especially fora nation founded largely on the hard workand dedication of myriad immigrants. Indeed,this notion seems counterintuitive.The bottom line here is this issue is largerthan its legal implications, in that it isan issue of civil rights, and the way certaindemographics are still forced to endure theslings and arrows of inherited prejudice.Hopefully, the Legislature will understandthe benefit of its current policy andreject any bills moving to disallow in-statetuition to certain students in its next Legislativesession.