At 23, Mariana should be carefree. She is finishing up her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has been accepted to a master's program at Harvard University's education school.
But life is not so simple for Mariana, who insisted that only her first name be published because she is illegally in the United States and worries she could be deported to Guatemala, where she was born.
I wonder what US education would look like without illegal students, H-1b visas or for that matter, any significant number of student visas. Would the education of Americans be better served? Would US educational institutions better cater to the needs of Americans? What would the job opportunities for young Americans be like? How would the social life on US campuses change? Might US students see professions that require education as more attractive relative to trades?
I can empathize with the situation of folks that invest in a US education thinking that dishonorable losers like Kennedy, McCain and Bush really can deliver. I think the wealthy backers of those folks should be held accountable for providing significant resettlement allowances to help these folks adjust any necessary changes in US laws. If folks like Mariana need further education because their immigration status precludes them from working or staying in the US, the wealth accumulated by use of illegal immigrant labor can be used to help them suitably enhance and apply their talents in their homelands.
The price tag on really solving this immigration mess is going to be high-very high. Unfortunately, it gets higher the longer we wait.