As a proud, pro-borders immigrant and once longtime resident and voter in Georgia with familial and friendship ties that bring me back frequently, I watch the political scene in my former home with wonder and angry sadness from upstate, Democrat-ruled New York. Are the Georgia state legislators not aware of the nation’s illegal immigration catastrophe and President Joe Biden’s disgraceful and illegal open border policies?
I am appalled that some Republican Peach State legislators are pushing a plan to change state law so that some illegal aliens can pay a lower tuition rate than Americans and legal immigrants in the state’s public colleges. I refer to HB 131 from Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, and cosponsors Rep. Dale Washburn of Macon; Rep Bill Werkheiser of Glennville and Rep Penny Houston from Nashville.
Carpenter was also able to get more Democrat cosponsors on his bill than Republicans according to the complete list of signers.
Carpenter is calling his “illegals first” legislation the “Workforce Development Act.” It’s an apparent attempt to garner support from fellow lawmakers who are being pushed by the donor class to make life easier for illegals in Georgia. And Carpenter’s name for the new tuition rate for illegals is “opportunity tuition.” The illegal aliens who would benefit are known as “opportunity students.”
As someone who taught English in a number of Georgia’s colleges and universities for twenty years, l think I am qualified to say that we can understand such terminology by studying a famous writer—George Orwell.
Amazingly, another GOP effort includes illegal aliens in a hoped-for new state program to send state dollars to parents of K-12 students to cover the costs of a private school education. It’s being called “school choice” and “putting the parents in charge.’’
School choice? It isn’t really for taxpayers who will be subsidizing the private school education of children of lawbreakers.
Parents in charge? No, it’s more like lobbyists in charge. I’ve seen them under the Gold Dome as I’ve testified with parents on such issues as Common Core. I’ve seen the throngs of illegal aliens brought into a hearing who shouted me down as I’ve told legislators about how professors at Georgia public universities were giving students academic credit for writing to legislators against immigration enforcement legislation and indoctrinating them in La Raza ideology.
In my years of teaching in Georgia colleges I have had students whose ancestors had been enslaved rush from work for an evening class, legal immigrants from Nigeria who attended daytime classes after cleaning offices at night, and working white and Hispanic students happy to be able to attend a community college. Why should these law-abiding people be asked to subsidize tuition for those here illegally?
As someone who was born in a Communist country, where the politically connected get privileges at the expense of the common people, I have always been impressed by American standards of lawfulness and fairness.
But what I am seeing in Georgia is a subversion of these foundational principles. At one time the state provided a clear contrast to blue states. Today, there are only six states with more illegal residents than Georgia.
It’s sad to see what has happened under the leadership of Gov. Brian Kemp. He and the lawmakers supporting the illegal alien favoritism are obviously following the corporate donors and not the will of the people. Many of the laws put in place a decade ago to roll up the welcome mat for all things illegal immigration are now ignored by Kemp and many state and local GOP officials.
There are many ways to make the illegal aliens crossing the southern border today consider migrating to a state other than Georgia. Assuring them special treatment — including in our education systems — is not one of them. Georgia’s conservative voters should be as outraged as I am that Georgia is becoming more like Democrat New York every year.
I hope Carpenter’s HB 131 is treated as the shameful dream from an ambitious political pawn of the corporate lobby that it is.
Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and taught college English for 20 years. Since 2014, she has been a resident fellow at The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Clinton, New York. Get on her email list at dissidentprof.com and read her articles at marygrabar.com.