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Policies Concerning Undocumented Students

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The Education Commission of the States has just released an up-to-date list of which states provide in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants enrolled in their state colleges and universities. As of June, the document says, 10 states had passed legislation that enables students living illegally in the country to pay the in-state rates. They are: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

I've met some high school guidance counselors or teachers who have told me they sometimes end up trying to help undocumented students research ways to finance a college education. Whether a state offers in-state tuition can make a difference in whether such students, in fact, are able to go to college. Of course, even if they attend college, they are still subject to being deported if their undocumented status is discovered by immigration officials. And landing some kinds of jobs after college, such as being a teacher in public schools, is practically impossible.

At the K-12 level, undocumented children are entitled to a free education. As enforcement of immigration laws increases, some school district officials are clarifying through new policies how school personnel should address the immigration status of students. I wrote about that issue this week in Education Week. You can weigh in on a discussion about school policies concerning undocumented students in the Talkback section of www.edweek.org.

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Personally, I see this as opportunities for states and United States.

I can see there are opportunities for states to advance their state in term of the state's interests. This vacuum of federal law is a vacuum for good. For states that are really hungry for human resources, these are the potential resources if they invested right.

Contrary to common believes, I believe there are characters about immigrants that have value to our society. For one, these are likely kids of poor and hardworking families. As a general human behavior, these kids appreciate more about what they got and understand the requirement to survive and, therefore, the important to success.

Nurturing these kids, not only provide a generation of workforce, it influence the value of the society for generation to come. State is a small enough unit that is easier to come to concession between fellow citizen. A visionary governor have the opportunities to persuade the state to take the opportunity and pass laws that is required to foster the growth of the state.

The lesson learned will eventually better shaped the congressional debate on immigrant issues.

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