This is just wrong.
Thousands of high school graduates like Juan are discovering the dichotomy between a federal law that ensures their education and one that prevents them from using it.
“I never saw myself as an immigrant,” said Juan, a toddler when his family brought him from Mexico. Like the other students in this story, he is being identified only by his first name.
“I’ve been a Dallas boy forever. So it’s a bad feeling, knowing 17 years of study with regular kids – doing better than them – and I can’t even go out and find a job.”
Federal law bans public schools from denying admission to illegal immigrants. Between 50,000 and 70,000 of them graduate each year from American high schools, up to 16,000 of them in Texas. No such law exists for public universities, though 10 states including Texas provide some form of in-state tuition aid to illegal immigrants.
Juan will attend the University of Texas at San Antonio. But in sharp irony to the country’s education ethos, a degree will not boost his career. Juan can’t gain legal employment without a Social Security number, meaning he can return to Mexico with his acquired skills or do the same work as his relatives here. He has decided to major in business administration because he knows a bit about mechanics from his uncle and won’t need to show papers to open a shop.
I’ve tried, but I can’t think of a single good reason why anyone would think this was an appropriate way to treat people like Juan. It seems to me that a sane society, let alone one with an unacceptably large number of school dropouts, would view him as the success story that he is and ensure he has every opportunity to maximize his talents. Frankly, I’m astonished this is even a question. I don’t know what else to say.