This story from yesterday, in Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News, refers to Utah's HB7, which would repeal another Utah law, passed just last year, that allows students who have attended a Utah high school for three years and graduated from high school here to pay in-state tuition. HB7's aim seems to be to ensure that children of illegal aliens attending Utah's public universities must pay non-resident tuition, no matter how long they have lived in Utah.
I am fourth-generation Utahn who relocated to California years ago, but I am paying non-resident tuition for my son to attend the University of Utah, so I have a somewhat unusual perspective on HB7. From the standpoint of pure self-interest, I suppose I should be supportive of the bill, but I am not. HB7 seems like an empty gesture that will be politically popular but will make no real difference except in the lives of a mere 169 students who will now have to pay non-resident tuition like my son.
Tuition accounts for a very tiny portion of the higher education budget, so the debate appears to be about principle, not finances. Some appear to believe strongly that honoring principle is more important than the impact HB7 would have on those 169 students and their families. Many of those students were brought here by their parents and now really have no country-- they're too Americanized to live in Latin America (they probably speak very poor Spanish and can hardly read or write it at all) and they're not citizens here.
This story in today's Deseret News makes it clear that HB7 is headed for passage. Read the article and decide whether you at least have misgivings about the bill.
The key questions here seem to be: Is upholding principle and getting just a few additional tuition dollars worth all the bitterness that that will result from that effort? Should those 169 kids be the ones to pay for principle? Some may call me a bleeding heart liberal (which would be very amusing to regular readers of this blog), but I am not convinced that enacting HB7 is the right thing to do. In fact, it seems downright heartless.
Utahns are generous, fair-minded people. I have a hunch the majority of them agree with me.