Joyce Elliott, newly elected to the state Senate, says she may try again on legislation she pushed as a House member to legalize college help to Arkansas high school graduates who are not authorized immigrants.
Help for these students in the form of in-state tuition was an open secret. It suddenly became a big story because Gov. Mike Beebe got spooked, for whatever reason. He acted precipitously and rashly (uncharacteristic for him) in turning this into a, well, federal case.
Important point: Lost in the hubbub of this morning's coverage is the immutable fact, reflected in Department of Homeland Security documents and legal opinions in other states, that colleges are NOT required by federal law to establish citizenship or immigration status of students. Arkanas colleges have BEEN DOING NOTHING WRONG.
Not that this matters any longer. The stories are already pouring in of long-time Arkansas residents, high school graduates, who are going to be denied college because they'll now be forced to pay out-of-state tuition, many thousands more expensive, to attend. See, the new crackdown won't prohibit "illegals" from attending Arkansas colleges, it will merely identify them so as to be sure they do not get a tuition break. So bona fide Arkansas residents of long standing, graduates of our high schools, should they try to attend Arkanas colleges will be forced to pay the same as someone from New York. The New Yorkers might also receive scholarship help thanks to Arkansas taxpayers, though Arkansas graduates born of Arkansas-working parents will not. Fair? You tell me.