Cross: Immigrants shouldn’t have access to state scholarships

East Oregonian
Cross: Immigrants shouldn’t have access to state scholarships

Published: June 19, 2015 3:49PM

Sponsors of Senate Bill 932, legislation that would grant access to Oregon Opportunity Grants to illegal immigrants, seem tone deaf to the will of nearly one million Oregon voters who less than eight months ago rejected Measure 88, legislation that would have granted state issued driver cards to illegal immigrants.

By a 2-to-1 margin, voters defeated Measure 88 indicating that Oregon voters are very opposed to the idea of providing illegal immigrants any form of state benefit, like a state issued identity that would validate their presence in the state.

Senate Bill 932 in a very clear way validates the presence of illegal immigrants in the state by granting them the benefit of equal access to Oregon Opportunity Grants.

This school year, only 30 percent of the 120 thousand Oregon students eligible obtained a taxpayer funded Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Currently there are not enough state monies available to fund Oregon Opportunity Grants for all American citizen Oregon students, let alone for persons illegally in the state.

The legislation could require the state to write a check of up to $2,100 for the 2015-2016 school years to each illegal immigrant who applies and is accepted to receive a grant. Over the time that it takes to complete a traditional four-year college education, an individual illegal immigrant could receive as much as $8,400 in state opportunity grants.

Earlier this year, Rep. Jessica Vega Peterson estimated that 76 illegal immigrants living in the state could be eligible to receive opportunity grants.

Doing the math on 76 illegal immigrants receiving Oregon Opportunity Grants for a period of from one to four years could cost the state’s taxpayers between $159,600 and $638,400.

The state government administrative costs for giving illegal immigrants opportunity grants are estimated to be, over the next four years, $144,499.

A final troubling fact about SB 932 is that sponsors of the legislation have placed an emergency clause on the Senate Bill, which means Oregonians’ opposing this legislation would be prevented from using the state’s referendum process to put this issue of whether or not illegal immigrants should get access opportunity grants before the state’s voters.

Oregon voters who reject the idea of granting the benefit of Oregon Opportunity Grants to illegal immigrants, a legislative action that validates their presence in the state, should contact their state senator and representative and tell them to vote no on SB 932.

David Olen Cross

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