Tell Georgia Regents to Repeal Ban on Undocumented Students

Congratulations to the deep South state of Georgia. As predicted, the public university regents decided to go ahead with a ban on undocumented students at the state’s five most selective public colleges last week.

The policy was approved by the Board of Regents for the University of Georgia system that controls over 35 colleges and universities. But because only 0.02 percent of students in the 35 schools are undocumented, they are virtually invisible and unable to drum up the support needed to ensure that all students have access to equal opportunity in the Georgia public university system.

Estimates tell us that a whopping 29 students attending these universities are likely to be undocumented. A grand 29 students are providing such touch competition to hypothetical American citizens that the Georgia Board Regents fear that some 29 citizen students are not getting the education they deserve. To rectify this hypothetical problem, lets not hire more professors, increase course selections and build more schools. No, lets ban a few qualified students from school due to their immigration status. Not only is this hateful, it is bad public policy and gives a false perception that the Regents are actually doing something worthwhile to increase access to education by shutting students out. And we must tell the Board Regents that it is unacceptable.

The argument is that because these students are undocumented, they should not be entitled to a university education even if they are qualified. It completely ignores the problem that undocumented students brought this country as children are not to blame for their immigration status, yet it is not something that can be changed without the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform.

The new policy is almost like waking up to the Board of Regents of the University of California banning undocumented students from its prestigious institutions under the pretext that a few dozen undocumented students are keeping American citizen students out of schools. But wait, I thought America was a meritocracy and competition is a good thing? I suppose a few undocumented students giving stiff competition to their documented peers is simply unacceptable. But more than that, documented displacement is a myth that is statistically untrue since college admissions is actually not a zero-sum game.

This ban may just be the start of a slippery slope as Georgia sinks deeper into an era of deep-seated Southern discrimination. Both Republicans and Democrats are expected to try and pass more stringent legislation in next session.

Photo Credit: hyku

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