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University system has detractors on both sides of the illegal divide

The Macon Telegraph The state Board of Regents has dodged an illegal immigration bullet ‘” for now. During its Wednesday meeting, the regents voted on recommendations not to allow illegal immigrants entry to the state’s public colleges and universities, but there is a big ‘if’ included that has angered both proponents and opponents of the new directive. Illegal immigrants will be barred from entrance ‘if’ the schools in the university system have rejected any academically qualified students in the past two years. Opponents of the new rule say illegal immigrants should be allowed to go to the state’s top schools, citing federal database issues. And many of the illegal students are unwitting pawns in the immigration debate ‘” brought to the U.S. as children by their parents and shouldn’t be punished. Proponents of keeping illegal immigrants out of state schools believe the measure doesn’t go far enough and will not be effective enough. Lets look at it. The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, in particular, always reject academically qualified students. For the fall 2010 school year, more than 13,000 potential freshmen tried to gain entrance to Georgia Tech. Slightly more than 2,600 enrolled. At UGA, more than 18,000 applied but only 4,700 ended up walking the streets of Athens. In reality, according to university system statistics, the illegal immigrant problem is a small one. Very small. The illegal immigrant student population in Georgia’s colleges and universities is 0.16 percent, and all of them are paying out-of-state tuition. Depending on the program ‘” out-of state tuition is about $3,000 more per semester than in-state tuition at UGA. At Tech, the yearly cost for out-of-state students is four times that of in-state students. Even before this action, illegals, even those living in Georgia, were ineligible for in-state tuition. Already there are legislative voices eager to pander to their constituents shouting that the university system should do more, and if the regents don’t, they will attempt to pass draconian measures to be sure illegal immigrant students, already paying double and triple for their educations, are kicked out. Those voices should quiet down. The steps the university system has put in place virtually shuts the door to illegal immigrants. It’s too bad we are able to shut out academically proficient illegal immigrants wanting to reach the top of their fields, but can’t stem the flow of those who only work in the fields. ’” Charles E. Richardson, for the Editorial Board

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