On his recent vacation to the Sooner State, Wall saw all the dreaded signs of the massive Mexican invasion. We in California are painfully familiar with the symptoms—too little assimilation by too many poor illegal aliens arriving in America too fast.
Too much cheap Mexican labor has forced too many Oklahomans—including Wall's brother—out of jobs.
My advice to Oklahoma: look north to see the aggressive stance taken by Kansas to beat back the demanding illegal immigration lobby.
In May, Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) signed a law, HB 2145, that would extend in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens effective July 1st. The usual meaningless caveats were tacked on: the student would have to have attended a Kansas high school for three years and either graduated or earned a General Education Development certificate. And the students would have to sign an affidavit that they would seek legal immigration status at the earliest opportunity.
"It's about opportunity and it's about rejecting prejudice."
But on July 19, a lawsuit backed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and filed by Missouri University at Kansas City Professor Kris Kobach challenged the new law. Kobach says that granting illegal aliens benefits not available to citizens from the other 49 states violates the U.S. constitution.
Among the plaintiffs are college students, many enrolled at Kansas University, and their parents who say they are forced to pay the higher out of state rates while illegal aliens benefit from the lower tuition.
Chris Heath, a K.U. senior from Monterey, CA. said, "It is reverse discrimination." Suit challenges in-state tuition for illegal immigrants By Scott Rothschild, Lawrence, (KS)Journal-World, July 19, 2004
Kobach, who has degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale Law School and who served as Counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft from 2001-2003, is a Republican Congressional candidate in the August primary.
I spoke with Kobach to ask him how the people of Kansas felt about his lawsuit.
Kobach told me:
"It has been overwhelmingly well received. I have gotten very positive feedback from everyone. When the governor signed the legislation there was an outcry. People were shocked that in-state tuition for illegal aliens would cost them $15 million annually. And the amazing irony—not commented on by the media—is that on the same day the governor signed the bill, Kansas University announced that it would have to hike tuition by 18%. The very people who are going to be paying the bill are those other students. And they are getting the raw deal."
I asked Susan Tully, FAIR's Midwest Field Director, to respond to those accusations.
"This is what the opposition does. Without any facts to support its position that no one is harmed by catering to illegal aliens, Taff and others pro-Hispanic activists try to distract the people by making these baseless charges. It is all very predictable."
Kobach anticipates that his lawsuit will be successful. "It's a slam-dunk," he said.
Early indications are that Kobach is correct. On Wednesday, July 21st, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline issued a statement that read in part:
"Congress, through the passage of several federal statutes, has sought to prevent the undermining of national immigration law by those states that extend benefits to people who enter this nation illegally. HB 2145 seeks to avoid such Congressional prohibitions through artful wording that may not withstand federal court review."
"This nation is strengthened by legal immigration. America was built by those who were willing to risk all to seek liberty and opportunity. I am concerned about and differ with those who seek to diminish the value of legal immigration."
Kline delegated the case for further review to the Civil Litigation Division of his office.
Immigration reformers nationwide can learn from Kansas by following Kobach's bold approach.
To win, become the aggressor. And don't back down.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.