Criminal Illegal Immigrant Education (Update)

Apparently, we are helping to pay for criminal illegal alien education programs. The Davis County Clipper had an article on April 10, 2008, entitled “Jail inmates offered education programs” (not available on the web). The article notes three programs in place for the inmates: GED certificate (General Education Development, ie ‘High School diploma’), ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and ABE (Adult Basic Education – literacy education).

The programs are administered by the Utah State Office of Education. I found the programs are under the Adult Education department (more information is available at the link).

There are no disqualifications (involving legal residency) for participation in the programs. I understand that the ESOL program is volunteer driven and that no residency criteria is required for the use of Federal (tax) funds. However, all programs are open to those who are here illegally and have engaged in criminal activity.

We have the pleasure of paying for these programs via our tax dollars. At least, only those legally here should have access, but that is not the case.

Further, I would hope that obtaining the GED will not, then, entitle a criminal illegal immigrant who has resided in the state for three years to qualify for our in-state tuition. If so, what a deal: enter illegally (butting in front of those in legal immigration lines), commit a crime, get a taxpayer funded education and then be rewarded with discounted tuition at one of our universities (while legal immigrants and US citizens without criminal records pay the nonresident rate). Good grief.

Your tax dollars at work.

UPDATE:  While I’m still looking for the written administrative rule addressing in-state tuition HS attendance documentation, I am told that High School transcripts are required.  That only partially solves the problem, however (criminals illegal aliens still get tax-funded education and certain criminals will still qualify for the tuition benefit).  See comment 6 for details (and the rest of the comments for background).

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7 thoughts on “Criminal Illegal Immigrant Education (Update)

  1. You’re looking for problems that I don’t think are there. In addition to a diploma or GED from a Utah institution, state law also require the student “attended high school in this state for three or more years” and also “… file an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he is eligible to do so.” See Utah Code 53B-8-106

    You may also want to check the administrative rules written by the Board of Regents, but I still think you’re reaching.

  2. That’s why I started out with “I would hope…”. I’m not sure if the GED would allow them to get in on the in-state tuition. The only way it will not is if the “3 years of high school” part of the qualifications is set in stone. The concern I have is that the rule also allows a High school diploma or GED to gain in-state tuition. What I’m hoping for is that someone knows if the rule is interpreted that they MUST have been in a Utah HS for three years (and failed) before going on to get the GED and the in-state tuition. If the rule is interpreted that they must have 3 years in high school OR a GED, then we’ve got a problem. Are those applying for the in-state tuition required to document their presence in a High School in addition to the diploma/GED?

    I wasn’t able to find anything addressing this question in the admin rules (maybe I missed it). The code makes it sound like 3 years of HS attendance is required but is that the case by administrative practice and how is it assured?

    Further, an illegal immigrant that did attend HS for 3 years and failed (then committed a crime) would still be able to get the tax-funded GED and apply for the in-state tuition.

    Regardless, at very least, our taxes should not be used to educate convicted criminals who are here illegally. I also consider it entirely unfair that those who’ve jumped the immigration lines get a benefit unavailable to legal immigrants and US citizens.

  3. What is also unresolved is the fact that those who get the tuition break are not, legally, allowed to work. If they do, they will commit several felonies and have to steal someone’s SSN (identity theft) to do so.

  4. It’s in the statute. It says “and”. The three years of Utah HS is req’d, according to how I read statute. I don’t know what current practice is. Like I said, I think your looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.

  5. First, based on the article, we are spending tax funds to eductate criminal illegal aliens. Next, I have no idea if the a criminal has gained the in-state tuition but the potential is certainly there and someone may have (I doubt a background check was conducted on those using the program – there’s no provision for doing so in the statute). The whole point of the post is to show two things:

    1. We are blowing tax money on educating criminal illegal aliens in prison.

    2. There is a flaw in current practice for in-state tuition. Without a doubt, if an illegal alien attends HS for three years, commits a crime and gets their GED in prison, they qualify for in-state tuition. The statute (UC 53B-8-106) does NOT disqualify anyone from the benefit if they have a criminal record. Period.

    The second flaw also may be expanded to any criminal illegal alien (as opposed to those who attended HS before committing a crime), depending on how rigorous the proof of HS attendance is. If it is lax/non existent, they can attain the benefit. Thus far, you and I have been unable to find the rule detailing proof of HS attendance requirements.

    While I think the benefit should be rescinded, at very least, the gaping loophole should be closed and tax-funded prison educations should be prohibited for incarcerated illegal immigrants.

    Again, even if the above were addressed, we still have university students and graduates who may not legally work and who are, essentially, enticed into committing identity fraud and falsifying federal forms in order to gain employment.

  6. Tom – I was able to contact someone a bit more familiar with the in-state tuition part of this. They believe that HS transcripts are the required documentation to qualify. The would, therefore, resolve the loophole I had a question about.

    While it would still be nice to find it in the administrative rules (I still can’t find the policy), I can trust the source.

    We are still left with two issues, however: Incarcerated illegal aliens still get tax funded educations (GED, ESOL, ABE) and criminal illegal immigrants who attended HS here still can get their GED in prison AND qualify for in-state tuition.

    It would be nice to see the legislature close these loopholes, next session.

  7. Pingback: Some Action on Criminal Illegal Immigrants « Utah Rattler

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