The Corner

Perry Either Clueless or Deceptive on In-State Tuition

On Friday, Gov. Rick Perry again defended his position in favor of in-state tuition for illegal aliens:

“Texas had a decision to make: Are we going to kick these young people to the curb and pay for their existence in our state through social programs or some other type of government dollars — up to and including incarceration?” Perry said. “Or are we going to require that they pursue United States citizenship and pay full in-state tuition?”

Perry added, “Are we gonna create tax wasters or are we gonna create tax payers?”

But he doesn’t seem understand the bill he signed (a sense that’s reinforced by his reference to “full in-state tuition” — in-state tuition is the opposite of “full” tuition). After an illegal alien graduates from, say, UT (which he could do even without receiving the taxpayer-funded in-state-tuition discount, of course), he’s still not going to become a taxpayer, in the sense that Perry’s using, meaning he’d be working in a white-collar field using his degree in Comparative Queer Studies. And that’s because he’s still an illegal alien, so it’s illegal to hire him. While a landscaper might not ask too many questions, a firm hiring people with college degrees will. What squares this circle — which Perry offers as a central rationale for his support of the in-state tuition bill — is the requirement that beneficiaries “pursue United States citizenship,” meaning they would then be able to work legally and generate all those taxes. But this presupposes that Congress would pass the real DREAM Act, an amnesty for kids brought here by their parents. But Perry is opposed to the federal DREAM Act.

To repeat: Perry’s support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is premised on the passage of federal legislation that he opposes. Is he befuddled or mendacious? Neither one is encouraging.