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Roger

I was and am very concerned about that initiative. Otter's views on immigration are among his worst. He has fully supported the most draconian of immigration policies at the federal level, like the Sensenbrenner bill last year that sparked large scale immigrant rights rallies. He does not even support the DREAM act--co-sponsored by his colleagues from Idaho--which would make the children of undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition. This is a real blind spot for this pro-ag, anti-Patriot Act Governor.

Julie in Boise

It was interesting how this point drew only delayed and, I thought, muted applause. So let's hope that legislators will be more circumspect on this issue.

Roger, thanks to UVI for its continuing commitment to Idaho's immigrant population. It's more important than ever in this adversarial environment.

Tara Rowe

Can I ask what everyone feels about the DREAM Act?

Julie Fanselow

I am totally for the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of immigrants the chance to attend college at in-state tuition rates, as well as be eligible for grants and loans.

The bipartisan bill had strong support in Congress earlier this decade, before the GOP decided to make immigration a wedge issue. From what I recall, even some of Idaho's delegation supported it. I hope it will be reintroduced in the 110th Congress.

Tara, since you asked, what say you? Do you think it's a good idea? If not, why not?

Tara Rowe

Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, Julie. And yes, Crapo and Craig were in support of the legislation originally. I'm not sure where Simpson and Otter stood on it.

Early last year the ISU Student Senate was asked to endorse the DREAM Act (as was the Faculty Senate thereafter) and I had many reservations about it, other than over-politicizing two governing bodies that already have enough trouble effectively governing.

I continue to have mixed feelings on the matter. On the one hand I feel that children (I still put myself in this category as I struggle to put myself through school) should not be punished for the sins of their parents. Whether this be their parents' inability to gain citizenship for whatever reason and their choice to remain here illegally or whether it be some other action by the parent that has had an impact on the child as a student. This alone would generally put me in support of affording these kids the opportunity to attend school in state without paying the out of state tuition they would regularly.

However, my reservations stem from a larger issue of financial aid in this country. Idaho cannot afford a decent scholarship program to keep our students here when they leave high school and in some cases doesn't have the programs these students need to stay in Idaho schools. Without an overhaul of the education system (at least higher ed) we are putting our own students now, students who by all means are citizens, at a disadvantage. What will happen if we add another population of students through the DREAM Act to the system and they seek financial aid and/or work study positions? Will the students already struggling to fund their education as in-state residents still be able to afford tutition and remain in state?

As you can see I have had a bit of trouble deciding where I stand on this and even now am not sure.

For what it's worth, the DREAM Act was supported by the Student Senate. I think I may have been the only vote against and the international student senators chose to abstain. The Faculty Senate supported this with very little debate.

Julie in Boise

Tara,

Thanks for offering a student's point of view on this.

I fogot to mention it in my State of the State write-up the other day, but Otter did call for an increase in need-based student financial aid in Idaho. (I was actually pretty surprised to hear that, though Otter seems to feel education is one of a few proper roles for government.)

Not sure how the GOP majority will feel about that - but maybe things will look up on the financial aid front under Otter's tenure. It also looks like the Dem-led 100th Congress will make things a bit easier by cutting interest on student loans.

Irwin Horowitz

Tara,

Your post actually addresses a deeper issue of how far we, as progressives, are willing to go with our principles, when they start to invade our own pocketbooks. Should the DREAM Act pass, the likely consequence would be a modest, but noticeable increase in in-state tuition. This is akin to the likely price increases we will start to experience at most businesses due to the hike in the minimum wage. I am not saying these are necessarily bad things, but how far are we willing to go?

I would also like to point out a comment in you post that I disagree with. You state that Idaho can't afford a decent scholarship program. I think that the reality is that Idaho (in the form of our elected state representatives) chooses not to pay for a decent scholarship program. Given the current economic climate in this state, if the legislature thought it was a priority, they would make the needed funds available for students.

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