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Immigration reform is an issue politicians have grappled with for many years. More recently, the debate over illegal immigrants attending college has surfaced and legislation has been set in motion.

However, legislators shouldn’t fix something that is not broken.

Republicans in the Virginia Legislature proposed a bill that would bar illegal immigrants from attending public colleges, according to a Washington Post article.

This legislation is nothing more than a political move aimed at exploiting the voters. The issue at hand is much broader.

Most universities already prohibit illegal residents from attending, according to the article. If there isn’t a problem, legislators shouldn’t bother addressing it. Instead, they should focus on illegal immigrants attending elementary and high schools, where students don’t pay nearly as much to attend, causing American tax payers to foot most of the bill.

Illegal residents who are accepted to universities should have to pay international tuition rates. Since most immigrants would be pressed to find a job that could afford this expense, there would be limited number of applicants anyway, again making the issue null and void.

However, if they are able to qualify under the same standards as a legal resident and pay those tuition costs, they should be given a chance.

Our nation as a whole could benefit from illegal immigrants with a college education. A majority of them have spent much of their lives in the United States, making it unlikely they would go back to their home country. This would allow us to retain those who might become successful in the future.

The “your child’s seat in a state university is going to an illegal immigrant,” argument is a ploy to instill fear in the voters and get coverage of an overshadowing issue of immigration reform. Legislators should focus on more important issues, rather than those that don’t exist.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Give ’em a shot