HB 208 bad for economy

By and

Editor:

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Plyler v. Doe (1982) guarantees undocumented students access to public schools (K-12). The Court further affirmed that “the deprivation of education takes an inestimable toll on the social, economic, intellectual, and psychological well-being of the individual, and poses an obstacle to individual achievement.”

House Bill 208 will create such an obstacle by requiring undocumented students to sign an additional affidavit each semester promising that they haven’t worked in the United States during the calendar year.

The sponsor of HB 208, Rep. Greenwood, claims that it “protects” undocumented students by informing them “they could be prosecuted for a felony” if they work. Actually, this bill is an indirect attack on HB 144, most likely due to the fact that the previous two head-on attacks on HB 144 have failed. If passed, HB 208 will continue to infuse unnecessary fear into the undocumented immigrant population, and it will unfairly focus our state’s anger toward the lack of federal immigration legislation on a very low number of students (182 across the state in 2007).

According to a 2005 report by the American Association for State Colleges and Universities, a “large portion of undocumented alien students are likely to remain in the United States, whether or not they have access to postsecondary education. Accordingly, it would seem to be in states’ economic and fiscal interests to promote at least a basic level of education beyond high school to alien students, to increase their contribution to economic growth while reducing the prospect of dependence on public/community assistance.” Given the current economic climate, what the AASCU reports is even truer today than in 2005, and our representatives ought to focus their efforts on protecting our economic interests rather than hindering them.

Jascha Clark
Senior, Psychology and
Ethnic Studies