Letter: Shameful treatment of immigrants

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The attacks against immigrants in this country are getting more aggressive and insidious. Texas has decided that DACA kids will no longer be considered for instate tuition costs. New legislation has defined these students as “nonstate residents” (never mind that they have lived in Texas all their life) who must now pay out-of-state tuition expenses. As we all know, those costs can be beyond most families’ income budgets. And, a condition of DACA status includes enrollment in school. If these kids must leave school because they can’t afford the increased tuition, their status may be at risk.

Our own state legislators tried a similar approach in stating that any “nonlegal resident” would not be eligible for adult education classes. Never mind that “legal” refugees and immigrants who are awaiting status decisions from state and federal agencies are in desperate need of adult education classes for English and job training.

The federal justice department has recently decided to halt a legal-advice program for immigrants in detention centers awaiting deportation. Apparently, the Executive Office for Immigration Review “wants to conduct an efficiency review to examine the cost effectiveness of the federally funded program.” Such an audit has not been done for several years. Why the urgency now? Why stop the program while the audit is being done? Who believes this excuse?

The measure of a country’s character can be judged by how its government and institutions treat citizens and noncitizens alike. We keep failing that character measurement. The underlining nastiness of these decisions is not lost on anyone no matter how they are explained or justified.