Immigrant Students Forgotten in Massachusetts?

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If you opened your newspapers in Massachusetts today, you read that Governor Deval Patrick revived the in-state tuition debate in Massachusetts again through his sweeping education reform.  Predictably, the Boston Herald jumped all over it and published not one, but two heavily slanted articles, publishing lies that I've addressed in an earlier post.

I wish I could be writing this post praising Deval Patrick for expending political capital on what he himself has said is a matter of "simple justice":

"It makes good sense for us economically, and for me it's just a matter of simple justice," Patrick said during a lunch with reporters yesterday. "We don't say to these kids they can't go to state colleges and universities; they can go. What we say to them is that they have to pay a different rate from the kid who sat across the aisle from them all through middle school and high school."
Lindsey Parietti - Daily News Transcript (25 June 2008)
But then I read the fine print of The Patrick Administration Education Agenda, and though I still have questions, I'm fairly sure, at least using the language in the report, that the newspapers were wrong.
Here's what the report says under the short-term administrative action agenda (2008-11):

Support legislation to allow children of undocumented immigrants to attend a public college or university in the Commonwealth at the in-state tuition rate if they have attended Massachusetts’ schools, passed the MCAS, received a high school diploma and are on a path toward citizenship.

The key phrase here, of course, is a "path toward citizenship".  If undocumented students had a "path towards citizenship", they wouldn't need legislation passed to get in-state tuition in Massachusetts.

Now I'm hoping this is just misphrased, or it is some sick joke, because Patrick is talking to the press as if this is the real thing.  Some states have asked undocumented students to sign an affadavit saying they will become a citizen the first chance they get.  But if this is the phrasing their using, then signing an affadavit is not the same thing as being on a "path towards citizenship".

I wish I could be praising the Governor for finally taking a stand on a promise he made two years ago, but using the language above this is not something to be praised.  I'm hoping the phrasing of this is just a mistake.  Even if it is, hundreds of undocumented students, who scoure through language and regulations like this everyday trying to find a way to exist in the only country they know as their home, have probably read this and felt like the Governor is trying to pull a fast one on them.  I'm hoping in my heart that's not true.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on June 26, 2008 12:06 PM.

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