Mike Kueber's Blog

September 29, 2011

Illegal immigration in the news

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 4:51 pm
Tags: , ,

There were two important developments in the news yesterday relating to illegal immigration:

  1. ICE conducted a nationwide dragnet that resulted in the arrest of 2900 convicted criminals/illegal immigrants.
  2. A federal judge in Alabama upheld most parts of that state’s illegal-immigration law, supposedly the toughest in the nation.

Although both developments had many interesting components, the one that most interested me was that, according to news reports, the Alabama federal judge held that the state of Alabama could not exclude illegal immigrants from its public colleges.  That is sure to be a hot topic because it relates to Rick Perry’s defense of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.  Furthermore, it runs counter to the conventional wisdom that, although the Supreme Court (in Plyler v. Doe, 1982) had required that states provide K-12 public education to illegal immigrants, there is no such requirement that applies to a college education.  (Only three Deep South states currently have laws that prohibit the attendance of illegal immigrants – South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.)

One of most amazing things about the modern internet, in addition to Google and Wikipedia, is that a news article can provide you a link to the underlying information on which the article is based.  In the case involving Alabama’s illegal-immigration law, the NY Times article provided a link to the federal judge’s decision, which would explain why Alabama can’t exclude illegal immigrants from Alabama public colleges.

Of course, most people would not be interested in wading through a 115-page opinion, but I used to enjoy doing that for a living.    Unfortunately, I skimmed the opinion twice and couldn’t find anything related to a ban on illegal immigrants attending Alabama colleges.  This caused me to wonder if the article in the NY Times made an error, so I read related articles from other news sources, and they consistently included a mention of the college ban:

  • Chicago Tribune – “But the judge temporarily prevented the state from making it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant. Pending a final decision by the court, Alabama also cannot prohibit illegal immigrants from attending its public colleges.”
  • Business Week – “She blocked a state law provision barring those who are in the U.S. illegally from enrolling in public colleges or being eligible for scholarships and financial aid and requiring any aliens enrolled to have lawful permanent resident status or an appropriate

That confirmed that the mistake was with me, unless all of the other media sources were plagiarizing each other.

I decided to take a break from my research and went to work out.  When I came back, I skimmed the federal judge’s opinion again.  I even did some word-searches of the pdf document.  Still nothing.

So, I encourage any reader to review the opinion, and if you find where it grants an injunction of the part of the law that bans college attendance by illegal immigrants, please let me know.