Reply to Michael Hethmon – "Worst Kind of Public Waste"

This is a reply to “Opposing View: Worst kind of public waste” dated 5/21/08 and published in USA Today. Michael Hethmon wrongly interprets the 1996 Immigration reform acts to mean that undocumented students should be denied postsecondary education benefits, when in fact, the law in question simply says that undocumented students shall not qualify for any post-secondary benefit not already available to U.S. citizens and residents. Additionally, an ICE memo recently clarified that United States federal law did not prohibit undocumented students from attending colleges in America—the matter is up to the sole discretion of the postsecondary educational institution.

For any legal precedence on the education of undocumented students, we should look to Plyler v. Doe that guaranteed K-12 for all students regardless of immigration status since punishing students for the alleged transgressions of their parents advances no compelling state interest and instead, fosters a permanent underclass of unassimilated individuals. We must apply the precedent to post-secondary education; after all, the worst kind of public waste is in throwing away our K-12 investments, our talented, hardworking undocumented American students like Meynardo Garcia who have beaten the odds to reach college, and yet, are still forced to live in the shadows. Pass the DREAM Act and give them a future,

Prerna Lal, MA

San Francisco, California.

P.S. There are 10 undocumented students at Harvard.

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