Thursday, October 19, 2006

Build our pyramids with their toil: Proposition 300

Proposition 300: Public Program Eligibility

That Proposition 300, the most mean-spirited of the anti-immigrant bills submitted by the legislature, is likely to pass is testament to just how hysterical Arizonans have become over visa status.

Since such obsession over a government permit is absurd, take it as a measure of the degree to which bigotry and xenophobia have become mainstream. Ernesto Portillo sees this as a mere expression of anger over Congress's refusal to seriously reform immigration policy. I'm not willing to be so charitable. We don't, after all, deny the elderly equal protection at the state level over Congress's refusal to reform Social Security.

Prop. 300 would tie eligibility for State childcare subsidies, and in-state tuition, and adult education programs to one's Federal visa status. Have the right papers, and you're eligible. Have the wrong ones, and you're not.

How long one has lived in Arizona and whether or not one is a taxpayer is inconsequential. The purpose here is not to cut back on free riders but instead to stick it to the mojados. Students who may have immigrated as toddlers will find themselves ineligible for in-state tuition over something their parents did sixteen years ago, over which they had no choice, regardless of whether or not their parents have paid taxes.

I'm no supporter of state-subsidized higher education--despite being employed by one of the state universities (ask me about that by email)--or of childcare subsidies. But while such things exist, those who pay their fair share ought to have equal access, and people oughtn't be penalized over matters in which they had no choice. That's called justice. Prove that someone has evaded taxes and we have a different matter on our hands.

Vote "no" on 300 and question the character of anyone who doesn't.

1 comment:

277.18 Hz said...

Hey Ben,

Some discussion groups you might be interested in:

- Scott