Mike Huckabee: in-state tuition for "the children of illegal immigrants" (2005; actually for illegal aliens themselves)

An oft-repeated claim is that, as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee wanted to give scholarships to "the children of illegal immigrants". That claim has appeared in several news stories, and it's partly false:

1. The discounts were for students who were themselves illegal aliens. The immigration status of parents doesn't necessarily imply the status of their children; parents who are illegal aliens could have U.S. citizen children for instance.

2. Whether a potential college student who's 18 or older is a "child" is definitely an open question.

Whether the formulation is used as an attempt to hide what The Huckster supported or due to ignorance isn't clear. However, something like, "students who are illegal aliens" would be the more accurate description. (The bill was passed by the AR House, but failed in the Senate).

The earliest article available from the Google News archive with that formulation is "College aid for illegal immigrants bill passed by House" from Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau (link):
An emotional and teary-eyed Rep. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, buried her head in her hands Monday afternoon after the House approved a measure that would make the children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas eligible for state college scholarships...

...House Bill 1525 [sponsored by Elliot], which is endorsed by Gov. Mike Huckabee, now goes to the Senate...

"House members showed courage by dismissing the shrill, misleading, often inaccurate criticisms of this bill," Huckabee said in a statement. "They voted to create true opportunity for all graduates of Arkansas schools. It's the kind of message that gives our state a very different image from the one in 1957 when we said 'no' to opportunity for children."

..."I remember ever so clearly what it felt like to have the big boot of the government on my back, and I was a mere child," [Elliot, speaking of segregation] said. "For these kids today, it is not a memory, it's a way of life. They are living with the boot of the government on their back, and it's not fair because they've done nothing wrong."
The preamble to the bill itself (PDF) does mention "children of undocumented immigrants". However, the body of it makes it clear it was intended to apply to illegal aliens themselves:
Any tuition rate that is granted to residents of Arkansas shall be granted on the same terms to all persons, regardless of immigration status, who have attended a secondary educational institution in Arkansas for at least three (3) years and who have either graduated from an Arkansas high school or received a general education diploma in the state.
They also had to file an affidavit stating that they had an "intent to legalize his or her immigration status". No penalties were indicated if they never followed through on their "intent".


There is a video of the Huckabee's speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbKA4HqjpeA

Huckabee renewed his support for giving in-state tuition rates to children in the U. S. illegally onOctober 5, 2007 on Newshour with Jim Lehrer. See item #3 of my brief selection of Huckabee quotes on illegal immigration below: Mike Huckabee on Illegal Immigration --- with supporting links 1) Huckabee (2005) delights League of United Latin American Citizens [LULAC] convention with talk of Arkansas’ need to cherish diversity "in culture, in language and in population" — and of the prospect of whites' minority status: "'Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority,' Huckabee said jokingly as the [LULAC] crowd roared in laughter." (“Huckabee promotes 'open door' policy at LULAC convention,” Arkansas News Bureau, by Wesley Brown, June 30, 2005): http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2005/06/30/News/323746.html 2) Huckabee (2006): “Only rational approach” to problem of illegal immigration is to give illegal aliens a path to citizenship: “I tend to think that the rational approach is to find a way to give people a pathway to citizenship . . . To think that we're going to go lock up 12 million people, or even round them up and drive them to the border and let them go, might make a great political speech, but it's not going to happen . . . I know that there are some who think that anything less than essentially grabbing them by the nape of the neck and tossing them over a fence, real or imaginary, is amnesty.” (“Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Interview With The Fix's Chris Cillizza and The Post's Dan Balz, Washington Post, May 23, 2006): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/22/AR2006052201237.html 3) Huckabee (2007): American needs to give in-state tuition and scholarships to children illegally in the U. S. (and thus reward the parents who broke the law as they, too, will be eligible for a path to citizenship when the student turns 21, starting the chain migration process for extended family): “...my reasons for supporting the idea that if a student had been in our schools and behaved and had done everything that we asked of one of the students in our schools, then it’s in our best interests to let the student apply for the scholarship because part of the provision is they have to apply for citizenship. But here’s the other part: you don’t punish the child for the parent’s having broken the law. We don’t do that . . . I just don’t understand why anybody would that’s a good idea . . .” (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer — excerpt of interview with Margaret Warner, October 5, 2007: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec07/huckabee_10-05.html 4) Huckabee (2005) denounces Republican bill in Arkansas to deny benefits to illegal aliens as un-Christian, un-American": "They [illegal aliens] pay sales taxes on their groceries. They pay fuel taxes. If they're using a fake Social Security number, they're paying Social Security taxes and will never receive any benef

Good catch, LW. I think you're giving too much benefit of the doubt though. Clearly looks like intentional distortion to me. Precision of language is nowhere to be found in immigration rhetoric. Check this out and try not to think of '1984': NAHJ Urges News Media to Stop Using Dehumanizing Terms When Covering Immigration Calls for stopping the use of “illegals” as a noun, curbing the phrase “illegal alien” Media Contact: Joseph Torres (202) 662-7143; Daniela Montalvo (202) 662-7152 Washington, D.C. -- As protesters march in the streets and debate intensifies in Congress over how to fix the nation’s immigration laws, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists calls on our nation’s news media to use accurate terminology in its coverage of immigration and to stop dehumanizing undocumented immigrants. NAHJ is concerned with the increasing use of pejorative terms to describe the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. NAHJ is particularly troubled with the growing trend of the news media to use the word “illegals” as a noun, shorthand for "illegal aliens". Using the word in this way is grammatically incorrect and crosses the line by criminalizing the person, not the action they are purported to have committed. NAHJ calls on the media to never use “illegals” in headlines. Shortening the term in this way also stereotypes undocumented people who are in the United States as having committed a crime. Under current U.S. immigration law, being an undocumented immigrant is not a crime, it is a civil violation. Furthermore, an estimated 40 percent of all undocumented people living in the U.S. are visa overstayers, meaning they did not illegally cross the U.S. border. In addition, the association has always denounced the use of the degrading terms “alien” and “illegal alien” to describe undocumented immigrants because it casts them as adverse, strange beings, inhuman outsiders who come to the U.S. with questionable motivations. “Aliens” is a bureaucratic term that should be avoided unless used in a quote. NAHJ, a 2,300-member organization of reporters, editors and other journalists, addresses the use of these words and phrases by the news media in its Resource Guide for Journalists. The following are excerpts for some of the terms prevalent in the current news coverage: Alien A word used by the U.S. government to describe a foreign-born person who is not a citizen by naturalization or parentage. People who enter the United States legally are called resident aliens and they carry alien registration cards also known as "green cards," because they used to be green. While Webster's first definition of the term "alien" is in accordance with the government's interpretation, the dictionary also includes other, darker, meanings for the word, such as “a non-terrestrial being," "strange," "not belonging to one," "adverse," "hostile." And the Encyclopedia Britannica points out that

(continued) "in early times, the tendency was to look upon the alien as an enemy and to treat him as a criminal or an outlaw." It is not surprising then that in 1798, in anticipation of a possible war with France, the U.S. Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted "aliens" and curtailed press freedoms. By 1800 the laws had been repealed or had expired but they still cast a negative shadow over the word. In modern times, with science-fiction growing in popularity, "alien" has come to mean a creature from outer space, and is considered pejorative by most immigrants. Illegal alien Avoid. Alternative terms are "undocumented worker," or "undocumented immigrant." The pertinent federal agencies use this term for individuals who do not have documents to show they can legally visit, work or live here. Many find the term offensive and dehumanizing because it criminalizes the person rather than the actual act of illegally entering or residing in the United States. The term does not give an accurate description of a person's conditional U.S. status, but rather demeans an individual by describing them as an alien. At the 1994 Unity convention, the four minority journalism groups – NAHJ, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and National Association of Black Journalists – issued the following statement on this term: "Except in direct quotations, do not use the phrase illegal alien or the word alien, in copy or in headlines, to refer to citizens of a foreign country who have come to the U.S. with no documents to show that they are legally entitled to visit, work or live here. Such terms are considered pejorative not only by those to whom they are applied but by many people of the same ethnic and national backgrounds who are in the U.S. legally." Illegal immigrant While many national news outlets use the term "illegal immigrant," this handbook calls for the discussion and re-evaluation of its use. Instead of using illegal immigrant, alternative labels recommended are "undocumented worker" or "undocumented immigrant." Illegal immigrant is a term used to describe the immigration status of people who do not have the federal documentation to show they are legally entitled to work, visit or live here. People who are undocumented according to federal authorities do not have the proper visas to be in the United States legally. Many enter the country illegally, but a large number of this group initially had valid visas, but did not return to their native countries when their visas expired. Some former students fall into the latter category. The term criminalizes the person rather than the actual act of illegally entering or residing in the United States without federal documents. Terms such as illegal alien or illegal immigrant can often be used pejoratively in common parlance and can pack a powerful emotional wallop for those on the receiving end. Instead, use undocumente

Instead, use undocumented immigrant or undocumented worker, both of which are terms that convey the same descriptive information without carrying the psychological baggage. Avoid using illegal(s) as a noun. Illegal Avoid. Alternative terms are "undocumented immigrant" or "undocumented worker." This term has been used to describe the immigration status of people who do not have the federal documentation to show they are legally entitled to work, visit or live here. The term criminalizes the person rather than the actual act of illegally entering, residing in the U.S. without documents. Immigrant Similar to reporting about a person's race, mentioning that a person is a first-generation immigrant could be used to provide readers or viewers with background information, but the relevancy of using the term should be made apparent in the story. Also, the status of undocumented workers should be discussed between source, reporter and editors because of the risk of deportation. Undocumented immigrant Preferred term to "illegal immigrant," "illegal(s)" and "illegal alien." This term describes the immigration status of people who do not have the federal documentation to show they are legally entitled to work, visit or live here. Some Latinos say this term more accurately describes people who are in the United States illegally because the word points out that they are undocumented, but does not dehumanize them in the manner that such terms as “aliens” and “illegals” do. Undocumented worker Preferred term to "illegal alien," "illegal immigrant," or "illegal(s)." This term describes the immigration status of people who do not have the federal documentation to show they are legally entitled to work, visit or live here. http://www.nahj.org/nahjnews/articles/2006/March/immigrationcoverage.shtml ///////// Comment: Illegal does not necessarily = criminal. Alien is the broadest, most neutral, and most accurate term. Not all illegal aliens are immigrants, nor do all illegal aliens work. 'Undocumented' is so far from neutral language it's laughable. '...the National Association of Hispanic Journalists calls on our nations news media to use accurate terminology in its coverage of immigration'. No, as discussed above, accuracy is the LAST thing they want.

Yes, let's stop calling them "illegal aliens". The word "invader" is far more accurate. And yes, let's stop all the many injustices being done to these poor invaders. Let's send them back from whence they came so that us evil Americans can no longer abuse them.

Tanstaafl's got it absolutely right. My children, American citizens, have the boot of the government on their backs. A government that wants school funds to go towards enabling "invaders" (some, through their "anchor babies"), thus, depriving my children of the best possible primary education the funds could be providing them. Don't you think my children, and all American children ought to be automatically entitled to a higher education? Here's a solution (sarcasm to follow). All American citizens ought to walk out on their jobs, take their families out of the country and renounce their citizenship. Then, we should all hop the border back into the country without documentation, use fake or stolen (from elected representatives?) ID's, and demand American benefits and rights. Do you think our government would consider us as worthy of their representation as they do current illegal aliens then?

I prefer Jay Severins description..... CRIMINALIENS