EDITORIAL: Metro State’s rebellion against obstinate Republicans should incite others to make good on the real American spirit


There was a lot of thought that went into the rambling thunder about “when in the course of human events…” as an explanation of why things had to change.

In short, when people are treated so poorly by the government, and it no longer represents the values of the masses, something’s got to give.

In the case of the increasingly inept and errant Colorado Legislature, Metro State College of Denver has struck out on its own to rectify state lawmaker’s inability to provide affordable education for long-time Colorado residents whose parents brought them to this country illegally.

The venerable school for everybody is considering an end-run around obstinate Colorado Republican lawmakers and allowing lower tuition for illegal immigrants living in Colorado and meeting a host of criteria.

The current proposal would allow Colorado high school graduates who have lived in the state for at least three years and are seeking to rectify their immigration status to qualify for something close to in-state tuition rates.

Good for them.

The Aurora Sentinel has run numerous stories about children of illegal immigrants who’ve grown up here, worked hard to succeed in local schools only to be stymied in pursuing a college degree by unaffordable tuition rates. Political machinations by state Republicans have killed repeated measures to rectify the issue, like twelve other states have, including Texas and Utah.

This is the same legislature that did an end-run around the will of Colorado residents and a majority of state lawmakers by contriving the death of a civil unions bill just a couple of weeks ago.

When in the course of these kinds of inappropriate antics by elected officials, Metro State has the right idea.

For the sixth year, legislation trying to rectify the situation was killed by state House Republicans. Such laws are popular even in conservative states because they make fiscal sense, and they make common sense.

The message to critics of Metro State’s proposal needs to be clear: These are not illegal immigrants. These are children of illegal immigrants. They are the victims of their parents’ transgressions, not the perpetrators. Many of these children have lived almost their entire lives in Colorado or another state. Punishing them by withholding their only opportunity for higher education does not get them out of Colorado, nor does it punish their parents.

Many of these children grow up in local public schools, graduate and have the opportunity to make huge strides in their own lives, the lives of their families and their communities if they go to college.

Critics of the proposal say it rewards and encourages illegal immigration, and it’s unfair because legal immigrants don’t get the in-state discount. Those are the same sham arguments that kept the federal DREAM Act from passing, ignoring the practical side of educating people who will in all likelihood spend most or all of the rest of their lives in the United States.

The reality is, preventing a statewide measure similar to what Metro State College is proposing does nothing to those who choose to come here illegally. Instead, it punishes innocent children whose lives could change drastically for the good by Colorado showing some real fairness and real compassion. This is not a request for charity. No tax dollars are at risk here, just lives.