illegal immigration

A student government that celebrates “thousands of unique voices” on campus has decided that one of those voices can’t speak – at least while he’s part of that government.

Storm Paglia, until Friday the “executive undersecretary for university services for dining services” at George Mason University, was removed from his position after tweeting against “illegals” getting in-state tuition, the Fourth Estate reports.

The student body president said that Feb. 13 tweet and a followup defending Paglia’s use of “illegal” were “demeaning”:

“While we all live in a society that permits us to express our opinions, we must also recognize that we live with the consequences of their impact on those we represent, wrote Student Body President [Philip] Abbruscato in an official statement to the university.

Without realizing the irony, Abbruscato said that because the student government embraces “diversity of thought and opinion,” Paglia can’t share his viewpoint on a hot-button issue of importance to college students and taxpayers unless he’s willing to give up his place in that government.

It’s a laughably over-the-top statement that reminds you of a totalitarian government, actually:

Throughout its tenure, the George Mason University Student Government has always had the best interest of the student body at heart with every decision made, program planned, and initiative pursued.

Paglia was also the target of a coordinated campaign by the Virginia Student Power Network, Campus Reform reports, asking its Twitter followers to “fight back” against the “racist on GMU’s student government.”

Paglia told the Fourth Estate he was “in the process of exploring means of recourse.”

Read the Fourth Estate article.

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A conservative student club at Virginia Tech has been denied funding for the rest of the school year because it hosted a talk on how illegal immigration hurts America.

In late October, Young America’s Foundation brought in former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan for a lecture on illegal immigration and student leadership at Virginia Tech in a talk titled “Alien Invasion: How Illegal Immigration is Hurting America.” A flier advertising the event – put up around campus three weeks prior to the talk – included an image of a family running across the border.

When the standing-room-only discussion took place Oct. 28, that’s when it prompted outrage among some in the campus community, who described it as “…offensive, insensitive and a blatant act of disrespect towards the immigrant community and Virginia Tech Community at large” in a statement signed by some students, faculty and administrators. AlienInvasion

This month, the student leaders who oversee student-fee allocations have told the group that their organization is no longer eligible for funding for the rest of the school year. With that, they were denied $200 for a patriotic Freedom Week display, and can no longer try and secure $5,000 to help fund a speech by Herman Cain later this year.

Associate Vice President of University Relations Lawrence Hincker has said the group’s original request was to bring Buchanan to talk on student leadership, and the subject of illegal immigration was added after the group secured funding for her visit.

Because of this, the Student Budget Board “denied funding based on their belief they had been misled by YAF on the Buchanan talk. In addition, the student budget board voted to deny funding for two semesters, including the current semester,” he stated.

“The student budget board has a policy requiring use of allocated monies for the requested purpose. Using funds for other than what is requested or approved, without going through a formal follow-up process, can jeopardize future funding requests,” he added.

But Lauren McCue, president of Virginia Tech’s Young America’s Foundation chapter, has a different take.

“We requested money to help finance Bay Buchanan’s honorarium so that she could speak at Virginia Tech – that’s what she did. Where’s the deception?” McCue said in a statement to The College Fix. “Our fliers were put up three weeks prior to the event, and the Budget Board had three weeks to notify us of any concerns regarding the fliers or topic.”

McCue said she doesn’t buy the official excuse, and instead says her group has been censored because those in control of the campus’ purse strings didn’t like their talk on the negative effects of illegal immigration.

“I find it hard to believe that if the topic of the lecture had been something non-controversial, like academic success, that the budget board would instill this extreme punishment,” she said. “This leads me to believe that censorship was an underlying goal in this case.”

Others agree with McCue’s assessment.

“Removing the funding of the Virginia Tech YAF chapter is an unfortunate attempt to coerce them to conform to a certain ideology,” Grant Strobl, Young Americans for Freedom chairman at the University of Michigan, told The College Fix. “I believe this is a threat to the intellectual diversity and discourse that ought to be a daily part of the collegiate educational experience. If the student funding board was wise, they would re-instate YAF’s funding and encourage a healthy dialogue on campus.”

McCue said her group will appeal the decision.

“As we try to take the next steps in the appeals process, all options are open in trying to figure out how we will continue to fund our club independently of the Student Budget Board,” McCue said.

College Fix reporter Samantha Audia is a student at the University of Michigan.

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IMAGE: Courtesy of Lauren McCue

The Department of Education has sent a “fact sheet” to schools throughout the country which “highlights the children’s right to attend public school.”

The influx of illegal immigrant children has led some state officials to ponder the additional costs their schools will face. The Hill reports:

“There are many consequences of the federal government’s failure to secure the border and the fiscal impact of educating unaccompanied alien children is certainly one of them,” said Travis Considine, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Michael Zola, head of federal advocacy for the school board association, said many questions remain about the placement of the children and how long they will stay.

“A lot of folks at the local level want to know with a better sense of granularity what those actual numbers are for planning purposes,” he said.

The civil rights divisions of the departments of Justice and Education sent a letter in May warning districts to avoid enrollment practices that could “chill or discourage” children from signing up for school due to their perceived immigration status.

“These practices contravene Federal law,” the May 8 letter stated.

The letter pointed out that having children provide Social Security numbers or race and ethnicity data when enrolling must be only voluntary. It also said the age of the children could be proven using foreign records.

Read the full story here.

h/t to Instapundit.

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IMAGE: Donkey Hotey/Flickr

Campus Reform reports:

Susan Su, the founder and President of Tri-Valley University, was convicted late last month of running a multimillion dollar “visa mill,” which illegally provided immigration status to over 1,000 foreign students.

In all, the 43-year old Su was convicted on 31 counts, including conspiracy to commit visa fraud, money laundering, and alien harboring.

A federal grand jury indicted Su in November 2011 on charges that she operated a phony, unaccredited university with the intent of fleecing millions of dollars from foreign nationals, who were looking to receive student visas in exchange for paying tuition…

Read more.

(Image: 2startown.flickr)

The Cornell Daily Sun reports that a student advocacy group has been given $5,000 from the university to dole out to undocumented students.

The scholarships are meant to help, in some small way, offset the nearly $60,000 annual tuition at the university, the newspaper reports.

With the cost of attending Cornell’s endowed colleges approaching $60,000 a year, the DREAM Team, a student organization, is awarding $5,000 in scholarships to the University’s undocumented students — an act it hopes will alleviate the financial burden students ineligible for federal aid often face.

The organization was able to fund the scholarships through the Perkins Prize, an award it received from the University in April for its advocacy on behalf of undocumented students.

Conservatives have opposed reforms that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, arguing that doing so would unfairly burden taxpayers and exacerbate illegal immigration. But across some college campuses, administrators, including President David Skorton, have urged Congress to support undocumented students for the sake of keeping their talent in the U.S.

Click here to read more.

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A new law that took effect Jan. 1 in California allows students who are not in the country legally access to a variety of state-funded college tuition financial aid.

Assistance such as community college fee waivers, Cal Grants and similar aid is now open to non-legal residents, with awards of up to $12,200 a year for low- and middle-income students.

To be eligible for the money, students must graduate from a California high school after attending for at least three years, and meet financial and academic standards.

Supporters of the law downplay its financial significance in this cash-strapped state, citing widely circulated statistics that less than 1 percent of students in the California State University, University of California and community college systems are undocumented. They also insist that the new law, part of the California Dream Act, won’t eat into the pool of college aid given annually to legal citizens.

However the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Office reports that the law will likely cost Californians $65 million a year by 2016. Critics say the law rewards breaking the rules and is an insult to foreign students who enter the country legally.

“We should reward those who respect our process instead of creating new incentives for those who don’t,” Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said in a statement to the Riverside-based Press-Enterprise, which reported that about 20,000 people – less than one percent of college students – are expected to apply for the state-funded Cal Grants.

But Donnelly told the newspaper the law will take away money from students who are U.S. citizens, and that it goes against the wishes of California voters, citing a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll which found 55 percent of voters opposed the law and 40 percent supported it.

The poll also showed a huge ethnic divide, with 79 percent of Latinos supporting the law, compared with 30 percent of white supporters, the Press-Enterprise notes.

The latest law granting undocumented students Cal Grants and similar aid joins a growing number of perks for illegal immigrants in California. They are already eligible for reduced in-state tuition at campuses statewide, as state law offers tuition breaks to any student who has attended a California high school for three years, regardless of their immigration status.

What’s more, as of Jan. 1, 2012, they were granted access to private college scholarships funneled through public universities.

State immigration advocates such as Luz Gallegos argue that children should not be punished for the sins of their parents.

“There’s so much potential for them,” she told the Press-Enterprise. “It’s not their fault their parents brought them here undocumented.”

Others see it differently.

Kristen Williamson, a spokeswoman for Federation for American Immigration Reform, told the Los Angeles Times the law is “a reckless use of taxpayer money.” And Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman told the newspaper it “absolutely sends the wrong message. It says if you violate the law, it’s OK.”

Fix contributor Nicole Swinford is a student at Chapman University.

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