Thursday, September 29, 2011

Illegal Texans Get No College Subsidies

     There is a political tempest blowing about a Texas law that allows certain illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition rates at Texas universities. Whatever the merits of the law as immigration policy, one criticism simply falls flat. Some pundits have characterized the law as requiring the taxpayers of Texas to subsidize the children of illegal aliens in state universities. However, this characterization misses the fact that Texas has no income tax. State funds for higher education come from the general appropriations, which are fueled by the state sales tax. Anyone living in the state for three years, the uniform requirement to qualify for in-state tuition, will have paid into the state education coffers. Thus, the children of illegal aliens—whose parents pay sales tax every time they go to the gas station or the hardware store—are no more freeloaders than the children of Daughters of the Republic of Texas. For both sets of parents, in-state tuition is available because both have paid their taxes.


  1. George is a reader of our fellow Skeptical Conservative affiliate The Atheist Conservative. He posted this comment there:

    "I was reading the link you had on the post when I clicked on ( at first I thought it was spam ). It cited a situation of illegal aliens in Texas and stated that the children of illegals pay taxes every time they go to the gas pump and that the state has no state tax. Nevertheless the children and their parents are still illegals and they are here against the law in violation of our soverign national law and as such their presence here is criminal ( at least the parents are ) since the children had no choice in the matter and had no say but they stll do not belong here legally.
    This is not a political debate or opinion , but rather of LAW and the violation of it by the illegal alien parents. Any person crossing the border into the USA without permission of the US government as a visitor or legal immigrant given legal immigration status is indeed an illegal alien and as such is indeed a criminal ( plain and simple ). If they bring their little children along , yes it can be argued that the children were forced and no charges should be made upon the kids but all are still here illegally and are NOT citizens of our country and as such DO NOT belong here and are not privy to any rights of our nation because they are NOT citizens. They should be treated humanely , the adults arrested and then later deported after punishment for the original violation in the first place."

  2. Our reply to George:

    "No dispute that illegal aliens are illegally here. It's just the argument that Texas taxpayers are "subsidizing" their children in state colleges is wrong. There are plenty of other things to say on the matter, many of which you have said."

  3. George's final comment:

    "We need to get control of the overall illegal alien problem in this country . The Democrats (liberals ) want the illegals here for their votes as they will always vote the Democrats in office for allowing them to be here illegally. On the other hand , the Republicans ( conservatives ) want the illegals here for their cheap labor for more profits for their business profiteering to pay the illegals "peanuts" because they (illegals) certainly aren't going to complain to the authorities considering that they are here illegally to begin with.
    Then the illegals flood into the country and sap our resources, send millions ( if not billions of dollars back to mexico and other countries ) , bankrupt our hospitals with free medical care at American taxpayer expense, free health care , special housing privileges, bi-lingual education at USA taxpayer expense , Mexican trucks flood into the country ( many uninspected ) with illegals, drugs, child sex slaves, terrorist cell invaders, weapons & explosives , etc ---the list is endless.
    I don't see any of the candidates running for office putting this at the top of the list for discussion and as a priority detail if they get elected. Oh sure , some hint at it now and then but no "teeth" into the matter. Amazing !"

  4. I'd say that it is indeed the case that taxpayers (who in this case are the payers of the sales tax) are subsidizing the tuition illegal immigrant students, just as they are subsidizing the tuition of legal Texas residents. The point would be that illegal immigrants are indeed among the taxpayers whose taxes go toward that subsidy, not that no subsidy exists.

  5. TRA: Thanks, you are right. The whole point of in-state tuition is that it costs students (or their families) less than providing the instruction costs the state. In all cases, taxpayers subsidize those receiving in-state tuition rates. This is so for students born in Texas no less than students born elsewhere.

  6. Texas schools are also funded by a Permanent University Fund that is separate from the sales tax. So there is a subsidy. However, it's so small that the issue is more symbolic than substantive, really. It exposed Perry's general unreliability on one of the most important issues of the day, if not the most important issue.