by Max Brantley
It's simple Tea Party Republican dogma that no candidate can get away with supporting in-state college tuition rates for "illegal aliens" — meaning state high school graduates who generally came to the country as children with parents who are working, paying taxes and contributing to a state's economy.
Arkansas hasn't been able to provide this elemental justice to our residents, though Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee favored the idea. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe does not, to his great discredit.
But how to explain rootin' tootin' Texas, so politically wacky that it keeps electing Rick Perry as governor. It passed college aid easily, beat a move to undo it and Perry himself has stood behind the law on grounds of compassion, a value generallly reviled by the Tea Party.
Here's an explanation (it's the economy, stupid):
John Sharp, the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System and an on-again, said the feds had left the states no choice by leaving the gates open to mass immigration of undocumented workers.
“The governor, the Legislature, the 174 members who voted for that piece of legislation did not get the choice of whether or not those kids were there,” Mr. Sharp said. “Their choice is whether or not those kids are going to become productive citizens or become one hell of a drag on the Texas economy, and that’s it. It seems that common sense dictates that maybe, from a Texas point of view, we need to make sure they’re not that kind of a drag on the Texas economy.”
He’s echoing Steve Murdock, the former director of the United States Census Bureau, who is now teaching at Rice University in Houston. Mr. Murdock said illegal immigrants made up 6.7 percent of the state’s population and that leaving them uneducated would devastate the state economy by 2040.