Con: U.S. should not pay for education of those here illegally
Nov. 28, 2010 at 5:28 a.m.
As they enjoyed the last bit of their day-before-Thanksgiving lunch, the Rilleys welcomed conversation with fellow customers.
Between bites, the friendly, yet opinioned Goliad couple, was willing to discuss everything from the food to the local newspaper, so when the conversation turned to the Dream Act, they did not fall back. Instead, they promptly shared their thoughts on a subject they were clearly against.
"I don't think it's fair to the people who were raised here and have earned the right to be here," said Bill Rilley. "We're the ones who pay for it, not the politicians. Politicians have no concept of what happens in reality."
His wife agreed.
"We have to fight against this," said Pam Rilley.
The Rilleys' position is shared by many Americans. At least eight different Facebook groups have formed to oppose the federal legislation.
"I don't think it's right because as they come over here, they get these benefits, have a multitude of children and get food stamps, Medicaid and other medical services that many of our U.S. citizens can't get," said Pam Rilley.
Although the bill was originally sponsored by bipartisan senators, it is not getting much support from Texas congressmen.
"I have great sympathy for the plight of children who have no moral culpability for being in this country illegally. But the Dream Act is just one element of the immigration issue that needs to be addressed as a part of a credible immigration reform plan. That plan must start with securing our borders," said Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is also opposed to the bill.
She has suggested changes to the bill, including instead of allowing students conditional permanent residency while in school, students should be allowed temporary student visas with renewable work permits.
Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Surfside Beach, also opposes the bill.
"I do not favor amnesty programs in general, and in particular I object to provisions in this legislation that essentially amount to social engineering." he said.
"Immigration reform needs to be comprehensive, and it must address the fundamental issue of welfare state inducements that encourage illegal immigration.
Some local residents said they opposed the bill because of the financial toll the bill could have on them.
"They need to be documented. I don't want to pay for someone to go to school that doesn't even pay taxes to go to school," said John Atkinson, a Victoria native who now lives in Houston. "They don't need to benefit."
Victoria resident Coburn Walton agreed.
"I'm against it. If they are not here legally, they are not entitled to anything except transportation back across the border."
Many people's feelings did not change even when it came to those immigrants who have been here most of their lives.
"It's not (the children's) fault they are here, but it's not their right," said Bill Riley. "Other citizens take the test to become U.S. citizens. Why can't they?"
Goliad resident Isaiah Thomas offered a solution to the debate.
"If you are not a citizen, how can you consider anything else until you become a citizen," he said. "It all goes back to the Constitution. All you have to do is honor that and we would not have all these problems."