The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maryland's DREAM Act fixation

One of the editors of the local Washington Examiner, Barbara Hollingsworth, writes a column with which I often disagree. (Among other things, she is bitterly opposed to mass transit, except possibly buses, and I've personally exchanged e-mail with her over this.) But today, she wrote a great column, which I will happily quote:

Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Marielsa Bernard's abrupt dismissal last month of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch against Montgomery College's Board of Trustees for granting discounted tuition to illegal immigrants is not the end of the discussion. Judicial Watch plans to appeal the ruling, which could spark the beginning of a re-examination of sanctuary policies nationwide.
The Judicial Watch case was not even on Bernard's docket when she inappropriately intervened and took it away from another judge to whom it had been assigned. A founding member of the Hispanic Bar Association with close ties to CASA de Maryland, a tax-funded advocacy group for illegal immigrants, Bernard ruled that the three plaintiffs — all Montgomery County taxpayers — had no legal standing to sue the college because financial aid is supposedly the sole province of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

And how's this for unintended irony?

In order to qualify for the in-county rate, students must prove they either live in Montgomery County or that they graduated from one of the county's public high schools within the past three years. In other words, the tax-supported community college imposes its own residency test to determine how much tuition to charge students — but somehow feels free to ignore legal residency requirements under existing federal and Maryland state law.

The community college allows illegal immigrants to enroll at the in-county rate of $107 per credit, about half of the $219 per credit charged for in-state Maryland residents and a third of the $299 paid by out-of-state students. All else being equal, an undocumented Guatemalan living in Silver Spring would pay half as much tuition as a U.S. citizen from Upper Marlboro.

Maryland Del. Patrick L. McDonough, R-Baltimore County, agreed to audit the college when Montgomery state legislators and County Council members refused a request to do so from their constituents. The audit found that the college's long-standing policy, which has apparently been in place for at least a decade, may have cost Maryland taxpayers as much as $10 million, McDonough told The Examiner. "Maryland taxpayers must pay for this deficit."

"They know they're wrong," said McDonough — who helped spearhead a successful citizens petition drive to suspend implementation of the controversial Maryland Dream Act, which grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants statewide, until a 2012 voter referendum. "Public officials do not have the right to violate the law and use tax funds — including the $147 million Montgomery College gets from the state — any way they want. If that right already existed, why was the General Assembly required to pass SB 167, the Dream Act, which would have allowed it?"

In Montgomery County, the law has been twisted so far that it is now used as a vehicle to reward and protect illegal immigrants while law-abiding citizen taxpayers are forbidden from challenging the misuse of their own money in court. This is supposed to be "fair."

"It's unbelievable that the biggest community college in Maryland is proudly and publicly admitting that it is misusing tax dollars, that members of the County Council and the county executive all think this is a good idea, and that a judge has now inappropriately issued a decision that upends 150 years of legal tradition and says that Maryland taxpayers do not have the right to sue public officials. This will not be tolerated or ignored," McDonough vowed.

If he's right, and this sanctuary college in a sanctuary county in a sanctuary state is finally held accountable for its illegal use of tax dollars, there's no telling how far this could spread.

Now, this time, I think Hollingsworth is right, and I applaud her raising these points.

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