Byline: Ward Connerly, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
My sense of fairness was shaped by my Uncle James, the man who raised me after my grandmother and I moved to California in the late 1940s. Uncle James made most of his important decisions in life based on what a college professor of mine, Robert Thompson, called his "knower." A "knower" is that part of your psyche that just knows what is right and what is wrong. All of us have one, but sometimes we choose to ignore what it is telling us.
And it seems to me that California Gov. Gray Davis, members of the California legislature, and the regents of the University of California (UC) system, are ignoring their knowers over the issue of college tuition breaks for illegal aliens.
Here's what's happened: Guided by a desire to give "equitable treatment" to the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants, on the rationale that children should not be held responsible for the conduct of their parents, the regents voted 17-5 (with yours truly being in the minority of that vote) to charge illegal immigrants less to attend California public universities than U.S. citizens who live in, say, Phoenix or Denver. The requirements to qualify for this subsidy are that the student must have attended a California high school for three years, graduated from high school, and file an affidavit declaring intent to seek American citizenship.
That's right. Every citizen living legally in the other 49 states will be charged a higher tuition rate in California than illegal immigrants who happen to be in California. My knower knows this is just flat wrong.
As a regent of the UC system, I know that the citizens of my state, as well as federal taxpayers, subsidize each graduate and undergraduate student's tuition to the tune of thousands of dollars each year. That is a price California citizens, largely, must pay in state taxes to ensure a top-notch university system - one that is envied throughout the country. California residents pay $3,859 in yearly tuition to attend UC, while out-of-state students pay nearly $15,000 for the same education.
I am not unsympathetic to the millions of individuals throughout the world who want to come to California to earn a decent living and pursue opportunity and freedom. But, our federal laws are crystal clear about illegal immigration. These laws should not be cavalierly ignored or even given a big wink. It is wrong to …