Scarborough Country Partial Transcript -- Educating Illegals in Georgia
See transcript from the entire show, which aired May 28,2003
About Georgia Senator Sam Zamarripa
Still to come: The View from SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Applying to a Georgia state college this fall? You may have some competition from beyond our borders-illegal immigrants and the tuition incentives that some states are giving. Thats next.
And, later, weve got The Buzz on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Still ahead: The View from SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Georgia says, come on in all, yall-why the Peach State is giving state tuition incentives to illegal immigrants.
A heated debate coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Ive got to tell you, Im still ticked off about that last segment. Empire-building is not what the United States has ever done. If we were trying to do it, after World War II, hey, we got screwed. We liberated France. We liberated Germany. And they had the freedom to thumb their nose at us before this war started. Empire. Some empire. Our men and women are coming home.
Anyway, on to another subject that just ticks me off. Some institutions of higher learning around the country are giving illegal immigrants a break and think they should pay less in college tuition than your kids. Here is our View From SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH (voice-over): These people are crossing the border between Mexico and America illegally. Thats right. Theyre breaking the law. But if they want to attend college in the state of Georgia, their tuition bills will be less than yours.
Three Georgia schools, Dalton State College, Gainesville College, and Southern Polytechnic State University, are all offering reduced in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That means one of these people might pay $1,163 per semester to attend Dalton State, while a legal resident of Florida, for instance, will pay nearly three times as much. Four other states offer similar arrangements. Texas, California, New York and Utah all give illegal immigrants tuition breaks.
One Georgia college president says: I just feel that, in the long run, its better for society if they get a degree. Hopefully, they can become documented and contribute to society. Fair enough, but, in the long run, whats even better for society is that people dont break the law to get here in the first place. And by offering discount access to Americas college campuses, arent we once again encouraging people to make a run for the border?
SCARBOROUGH: All right, with me now from Atlanta, Georgia, is state Senator Sam Zamarripa.
Senator Zamarripa, thanks for being with us.
Let me ask you, why should illegal immigrants get a better tuition break on going to school in Georgia than my children?
SAM ZAMARRIPA (D), GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: Joe, I watched your opening with great interest.
And let me first say that the issue of immigration is not an issue about tuition in colleges or universities in Georgia. Its an issue thats much larger than that.
SCARBOROUGH: But it is in this case.
ZAMARRIPA: No, Joe, that is one, actually, small issue related to the larger issue of U.S. immigration in Georgia or in the United States.
SCARBOROUGH: But thats the issue, though, that we brought you on to talk about and what were concerned about. Why should a...
ZAMARRIPA: And Im glad...
ZAMARRIPA: Im glad to talk about it in the context of the following.
No. 1, U.S. immigration policy is not working. We need to fix it. And you and I are going to agree on that and your guests and I are going to agree on that. Thats a federal issue.
SCARBOROUGH: So we fix it by letting illegal immigrants get a break on tuition, when theyre here illegally in the first place?
ZAMARRIPA: Joe, one of the biggest casualties of September 11, as you well know, was immigration policy between the U.S. and Mexico. It was set back. We had an amnesty program well under way, a workers-documentation program that we had agreed upon. Its been set back for years. So weve got to get that back on track before we can address any of these other issues.
And the second issue, Joe-and this is most important-is that our U.S. economy, our large businesses, our manufacturing operations are dependent on immigrant labor. This is going to continue in our future. And so to say that tuition is a problem related to immigration is to miss the sort of larger economic issue. And Im glad to debate that on the merit.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, let me bring in Phil Kent. Hes president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation.
Mr. Kent, do you have a problem with illegal immigrants getting a better break on college tuition than, say, kids of hard-working American citizens? It just seems so simple to me.
PHIL KENT, SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION: Well, absolutely, Joe. It is simple. And its undermining the rule of law.
Congress passed a law in 1996 specifically stating that universities and colleges arent supposed to be granting any education benefits to college students. My radical friend Sam Zamarripa is well known in Georgia for wanting drivers licenses for illegal aliens, in-state tuition. Hes a big open-borders man. He loves this stuff.
Weve got to tighten the borders. Im glad hes finally paying lip service to that. And this in-state tuition thing is absolutely outrageous.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Phil, doesnt it also cause a problem if we have an illegal alien crisis in America? And those numbers keep going through the roof. Doesnt it cause a problem if we encourage them, say, hey, once you get in here, once you get over the borders, were going to give you a break on tuition?
KENT: Well, absolutely. Weve got the most generous legal immigration policy in the whole world. Lets respect that and lets start deporting people, like U.S. law says. Im going to write a letter to these three universities demanding these students be identified and deported.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Senator, obviously-I want to go to you-whatever Georgia is doing regarding illegal immigration isnt working. In 1990, Georgia had 34,000 illegal immigrants. In 2000, that number grew to more than 280,000. And according to the INS, Georgia is one of the 10 worst states for illegal immigration.
And, again, just explain to me, Senator, very simply in the time we have remaining, how can it be that us giving breaks to illegal immigrants discourages illegal immigrants from coming to your state and my state?
ZAMARRIPA: First of all, the state of Georgia is not in the immigration business. Its not in our state constitution. Its not in our purview. We do not manage immigration here in Georgia. We dont stop people at the border of Alabama when theyre coming into our state or Tennessee. Thats not our business.
SCARBOROUGH: But, certainly, though, Senator, you can encourage them, though, can you not, by giving them breaks on tuition?
ZAMARRIPA: Ill tell you, we do not give them breaks. We have a policy about non-Georgia residents that applies across the board. You can be a resident of Georgia-if I send my child to graduate school for the next four years and they come back, theyre no longer a resident and they have to become a resident again in order to have in-state tuition.
This is a very, very confusing public policy that is confounded by the inability of the federal government to come to terms with an adequate worker program in the United States. This is not a border problem.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Senator, thank you.
ZAMARRIPA: Thank you very much.
SCARBOROUGH: Weve got to go. Appreciate both of you being with us tonight.
And I agree with him on that one. It is confusing and confounding, because, Ill tell you what. If my kid is an out-of-state student in Georgia, I would think an illegal alien from Mexico or some other place would also be an out-of-state resident. But, hey, what do I know. Like he said, its confusing and confounding.
Still to come: The Buzz, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY-style. Thats coming up.
And Washington is whispering that Senate John Kerry is going to take the Democratic nomination. Why? His wifes deep pockets.
And the dragging question: Who in Hollywood is lighting up?
Those stories and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns after this break.
See transcript from the entire show, which aired May 28,2003