Fox News Latino: U.S. Youths Made to Pay for Actions of Their Parents

Children must pay the price for actions committed by their parents.

That’s the message to students from the Florida Department of Education and the Board of Governors after the requirements to apply for a merit scholarship were revised to include completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with a social security number.

No problema, right?

Wrong.

Students who are U.S. citizens and Florida residents but are dependents of illegal immigrant parents were faced with this choice: out my papis’ immigration status or not apply for these scholarships.

graduation_college_costs-TheWiseLatinaClub

Courtesy: Think Stock

¡Sizzle!

Oh yes.  Apologies.  That’s me fuming over here.  I should have alerted you.

Did my temperature start rising because, for these citizen applicants, “protecting” their parents likely meant not going to college?

Or that these are the most deserving smarty-pants, who cleared–and then some–rigorous academic and community service requirements, in other words, the people who in the near future will contribute to our country and grow the economy by opening medical practices and businesses?

Or that victimizing these citizens attacks our American values and principles of equal protection law that date back to the drafting of the constitution and prompted a class-action lawsuit because ya know, this is the only way we can reach “consensus”–by litigating and not using common sense?

Well, yes.

But what really did it was this:

Not. American. Enough.

This lurking message is at the heart of the birther movement that continues attacking Barack Obama as being ineligible to be President long after the release of his birth certificate documenting he was born in Hawaii, then moved to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) whose Cuban refugee parents were not citizens when he was born in Miami and so the illogic goes, isn’t qualified to one day run for the Presidency.

Vivi honey, why do you let locos get your goat?

Because locura doesn’t only exist in the fringe cyberspace.  It’s made it’s way into the mainstream partly because of ignorance, partly because the people with the power to stand up and stop it, don’t–or won’t.

The consequences are real: in Florida, that could mean deserving American citizens not getting a college education and the government using its authority to establish a class of dummies at this critical time for our economic recovery.

As the article appears Fox News Latino:

“U.S. Youths Made to Pay for Actions of Their Parents”

By Viviana Hurtado

Children must pay the price for actions committed by their parents–that is the message to students from the Florida Department of Education and the Board of Governors.

Earlier this year, higher education authorities started requiring applicants who qualify for the “Bright Futures” lottery-funded scholarships to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This form requires a social security number and dependent students younger than twenty-four years of age must enter their parents’ information.

The “Bright Futures” web page succinctly sums it up: “No FAFSA = No $.”

But here is the rub – some applicants are U.S. citizens and Florida residents.  If they are dependents of undocumented immigrants, they were faced with the choice: “out” their parents’ immigration status or not apply for this scholarship money.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a class-action suit in October on behalf of these applicants, arguing that Florida education officials violated their rights by treating them as illegal immigrants and non-residents because their parents are not documented.

The center’s director of education advocacy Jerri Katzerman says, “It’s an unconscionable attack on students from immigrant families that more than triples the cost of a college education.”

The difference in tuition is staggering and could mean getting–or not–a college education: At the University of Florida, residents pay $5,700 a year versus $27,936 for non-residents.  At Miami Dade College, in-state tuition is $1,266 per term versus $4,524 paid by out-of-state students.

These are the most deserving Americans and Florida residents.  In order to qualify for the “Bright Futures” money, students must meet rigorous requirements, including for high school graduates at least a 3.0 grade point average and up to 100 hours of community service.

A policy of punishing children by “revoking” their citizenship because of their parents’ actions also undermines American values dating back to the drafting of the constitution.

Our country’s founders protected against condemning future generations for the sins of their fathers–debts or penalties for crimes committed by parents could not be passed down to future generations.

Then there is the fourteenth amendment which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

The social impact of not educating these students is as crippling as it is far-reaching: it institutes a class of dummies among the fastest growing segment of the population, limiting its capacity to contribute to growing our economy, integrate into, and strengthen America; it allows governmental officials to unfairly single out–and victimize–American citizens; it expands the footprint of government, not by law, but by regulations.

Ultimately, this mandatory policy to secure a “Bright Futures” scholarship tarnishes Florida and America’s reputation.

Viviana Hurtado’s blog The Wise Latina Club has won “Best Politics Blogger” awards by LATISM and Blogs by Latinas. She is a regular columnist for Fox News Latino. You can follow her on twitter at: @vivianahurtado

Click here to read other posts in the original TWLC series “Anatomy of an Immigration Debate” which analyze the charged political and social context of the immigration debate and the extraordinary demographic changes confirmed by the 2010 U.S. Census that are re-defining and challenging our notion of the body politic as articulated in the motto imprinted on American currency “E pluribus unum”–”Out of Many, One.”

Will an overhaul of the immigration system stop these incidences?

Leave a Reply