Illegal aliens rank high on any social reformer’s list of priorities. At the very time millions of tax dollars are being spent to patrol our borders and to prosecute the illegals, CUNY—the City University of New York—announced in August that not only will it continue to welcome illegal aliens into its fold, but it will now be happy to give them a tuition break. Starting this fall illegal aliens will no longer have to pay CUNY’s annual out-of-state tuition rate of $4,050. If they can prove one year’s residence in New York, and if they will declare their intent to remain in the state, they will now be entitled to enroll at the annual resident tuition rate of only $1,250.

CUNY’s University Dean for Student Services, Mr. Angelo Proto, believes that this new policy could affect some 7,500 “undocumented students.” When asked whether by “undocumented students” he meant “illegal aliens,” he replied, “We call them undocumented students.”

According to Mr. Proto the new tuition policy was enacted to help “extend higher education to all residents of New York,” whether they be “documented or undocumented.” He was quick to add, “We aren’t doing anything different from what the city of New York and other cities are doing.” And he’s right. The city of New York does extend social services to residents regardless of citizenship status, and this summer a committee of New York’s City Council approved a law to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s “alienage or citizenship status,” meaning discrimination against legal and illegal aliens would now be prohibited. Although the Council maintains it will not contradict federal laws concerning the hiring of illegal residents, the proposed law would prohibit discrimination against illegal aliens in the areas of housing and education. Quotas on behalf of illegal aliens are just around the corner.

Dean Proto was also correct in noting that New York is not alone in providing social services to citizens and noncitizens alike. As FAIR (the Federation for American Immigration Reform) recently reported, the state bar of Texas provides free legal services to illegal aliens of Central American origin who now reside in the southern part of the state. And in one of the poorest counties in Texas, Hidalgo County, former illegal aliens—those who received amnesty during last year’s legalization program—continue to receive free health care and prescriptions, while such services have been terminated for the other American citizens in the county, virtually all of whom are also of Hispanic ancestry and just as needy.

Of course, it is the citizenry who legally reside in these communities who should be outraged by the spending of taxpayers’ dollars on social services for persons who are in the country illegally, who typically pay no taxes, and who perform none of the civic duties expected of citizens of this country. If illegal aliens contribute anything at all, it is to the well-being of either the employers who treat them as chattel and pay them slaves’ wages, or the countries they return to after receiving their American education. Historically speaking, education has never been a good producer of foreign policy dividends. The Japanese officers of World War II who traded stories with their American captives about life on American campuses were not entirely the invention of scriptwriters. Even more outrageous were the hundreds of Iranian students attending American colleges and universities on expired visas, who demonstrated against their host country in 1979. In neither case did an American education prevent the denunciation of America as evil incarnate.

Call it “nativist,” “alarmist,” or even “ethnocentric,” but an eighteen-year-old kid from a hardworking, lower-middle-class, blue-collar family in New Jersey has a right to be outraged when a financial aid officer at a New York City college tells him this fall that he would have had a better chance of funding his college education if he had come into this country on the underside of a truck and sold himself as slave labor for a year in the City. Financial aid officers at CUNY, however, reassured me that they will continue to be staunchly legalistic in denying financial assistance to American males who have yet to register with the Selective Service. Illegal aliens, of course, need not worry about such things: in case of war the country to which they immigrated and which provides them with free legal services, medical care, and tuition breaks will be adequately defended by the lower-middle-class kid from New Jersey who paid CUNY’s out-of-state tuition.

The American citizens of New York City need to remind CUNY and New York’s City Council that the only “right” illegal aliens have in our country is to be treated humanely during their period of detention and deportation. But perhaps there’s still hope. Upon asking an administrator at CUNY’s central Office of Admissions whether he really believed his employer should be lowering tuition for illegal residents, he declared, “Hell no! We should turn ’em in!” Exactly. (TP)