My question for Barack Obama (in-state tuition for illegal aliens)

Change dot gov is soliciting questions from the citizens and allowing others to vote on submitted questions. Presumably Obama will answer the most popular questions and, as previously discussed this system shares the same flaws as other popular voting systems and is thus little more than a scam designed to fool people into thinking that Obama will answer tough questions.

As a test, I (using the same Robert Bellaire pseudonym as I used at MyBHO) submitted the following question. Due to character length limitations I didn't include as much supporting information as I would have wanted:

You support giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens. But, each such discount given to an illegal alien represents one that's taken away from a U.S. citizen. What would you say to a U.S. citizen who can't go to college because of what you support?

I wasn't able to determine a permalink for the question, but you can find it by searching for tuition illegal at

I predict it will get very few up votes and a larger number of down votes, and it might be marked as "inappropriate" and removed entirely as they've done with other questions. However, if I got, say, an Instapundit-level of traffic I could probably propel it near the top. And, that illustrates the peril of such systems and why they're a scam: the questions that Obama should be asked will never make it out of the starting gate.

12/29/08 UPDATE: I did slightly better than expected, getting 17 up and 13 down. More on that and the other questions here.

I also resubmitted the same question for Round 2 of their contest. They've added categories for education, defense, etc. meaning there will be slightly less noise. However, as before, my tough question will be ignored in favor of lightweight questions that Obama won't have trouble with.


I think you probably have a valid question there, but you have it worded in a way that a lot of people will probably see as needlessly antagonistic. If you want to ask a question in a "fair" way that people won't believe is a "gotcha" question, you really need to leave out the truist statements that aren't really truist. "But, each such discount given to an illegal alien represents one that's taken away from a U.S. citizen" This isn't clear AT ALL that it's the case. At most state colleges, in state students already vastly outnumber out of state students, and even if they didn't, it wouldn't be clear that the school "depends" on the extra income from out of state students and it's not just a convenient means of padding their bottom line. If you wanted to ask something that's less likely to be voted down, I'd ask "With state funding for state college systems declining and demand increasing, while most state colleges have a mandate to educate citizens of the state--are you concerned about noncitizens competing away resources from students the state has a mandate to teach?"

_This isn't clear AT ALL that it's the case._ What's not clear? Look at it this way: colleges admit a finite number of students; I've never heard of a college that gets fewer applications than it has places, e.g. from residents. This means admission is competitive. So if an illegal gets one of those spots, it seems clear that another applicant will not be admitted. And since as you say resident applicants far outnumber non-residents, and non-residents bring in money, it's highly likely that the person not admitted will be a resident. Unless every person not admitted turns out to be another illegal. And by resident I mean a legal resident.

Brandon is wrong, and a complete idiot. In a zero sum game like college admissons, every criminal alien lawbreaker that gets admitted results in a law abiding and taxpaying citizen getting the shaft. Antagonism doesnt change this factual basis of the truth. I guess we should be singing kumbaya under brandon's logic.

Another angle: In-state students usually get a discount at state universities because they - or more correctly their parents - pay taxes that support these institutions. Even low income parents and students pay sales tax. This is the justification to charge them less than out-of-state students. If a state university charges an out-of-state US citizen or LRP more to attend the institution than it does an in-state illegal alien who has no right to even BE in the state let alone attend the university at a discount rate, then it is by definition discriminating against a valid US citizen or LPR in favor of an illegal alien. This isn't just an issue of getting in to the institution. It's still discrimination even if the out-of-state student gets in.