Story Misrepresents Plight of Local Immigrants

    Dear Editor,

    I am writing in response to Nathan Miklos’ Oct.
    15 article titled “D.R.E.A.M. Act Encourages Double Standard but Lacks
    Effective Immigration Solution.” Miklos’ piece is brimming with factual
    inaccuracies and logical fallacies. His entire argument hinges on the
    ill-informed claim that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes and therefore
    should not be given the same benefits as “taxpayers.” It is widely known that
    most undocumented immigrants do pay large sums of money to federal and state
    governments.

    For example, federal income taxes that cannot be matched to
    workers’ names and social security numbers grew $20 billion between 1990 and
    1998. This surplus continues to grow $6 billion a year with 2005’s sitting at
    $519 billion. It is largely attributed to undocumented immigrant laborers whose
    employers deduct income taxes and social security payments from their checks to
    avoid being scrutinized by authorities. In terms of social security, these
    workers will never receive what they paid.

    According to a study by conservative Cato Institute’s
    economist Steve Moore, immigrant households in 1997 paid an estimated $133
    billion in direct taxes to federal, state and local governments. Douglas
    Massey, a Princeton professor and expert on Mexican migrants, has found
    that “illegal migrants pay taxes at high rates while using public services
    at low rates.” Among the 2,100
    undocumented immigrants he surveyed, “60 percent of them said they had federal
    taxes withheld from their pay.” Meanwhile, only 4 percent said they used food
    stamps and 3 percent said they received government welfare payments. In
    addition, only 11 percent reported that they send their children to U.S. public
    schools. Also, only 26 percent said they used a U.S. hospital.

    Miklos claimed that all undocumented students who would
    benefit from the California D.R.E.A.M. Act are guilty of committing crimes and
    therefore should not be rewarded. He neglects to mention that many of these
    individuals were brought to the United States by their parents when they were
    minors. They were not directly responsible for crossing illegally and as such,
    morally speaking, should not be held accountable for their parents’
    infractions.

    Opposing the California D.R.E.A.M. Act is not only unjust
    but impractical. Our state needs more college graduates. According to the
    Public Policy Institute of California, 41 percent of jobs will require a
    college education by 2025 but only 32 percent of workers in the state will have
    college degrees.

    Miklos advocated treating people equally but he contradicts
    himself, arguing that undocumented students should not get the same chance that
    “legal” Americans get. Hard-working
    students, most of whom are only guilty of involuntarily committing a
    misdemeanor — entering the country illegally is a minor offense — should not be
    treated as second-class persons.

    Miklos stated he is against “creating an institutional
    double-standard between legal citizens and undocumented residents.” The only
    double standard here is the one that marginalizes undocumented immigrants, not
    because they are “bad” but because they are cheap, expendable labor and
    concomitantly, tend to speak with a different accent or language and have a
    darker shade of skin.

    — José Fusté

    Ethnic Studies Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant


    No Merit for Proposed Warren Fee Increase

    Dear Editor,

    “Warren is really suffering.” Those were the words of Brandon Blades, a
    former Warren College Student Council official in charge of passing the 2004
    fee referendum who also called the vote a do-or-die time for the college.

    Warren College can hardly claim to be suffering anymore.
    After spending its first three decades of existence begging for handouts from
    the campuswide student government, Warren College decided to tax its own
    students less than four years ago, tripling its student council’s budget and becoming
    the last college to adopt an activity fee.
    And although Warren College has survived just fine without any activity
    fees for its first 30 years, here we are in 2007, with its student council
    lining up for more money.

    Let us consider the arguments offered by WCSC
    Parliamentarian Dan Palay in a recent Guardian article:

    1. “Warren has the lowest activity fee on campus.” Well,
    Warren College also has the second most students of UCSD’s six colleges. Since
    the cost of events like concerts and dances are fixed — why would it cost
    muchmore to put on a dance for Warren College’s 4,132 students than for Sixth
    College’s 2,783? — it makes sense for Warren College to have the lowest
    activity fee. Though the per-student contribution is smaller, the total pie is
    still big.

    2. “The fee hasn’t increased since it began.” OK, the fee
    was first assessed in 2004. So, in this three-year period of low inflation, how
    much purchasing power has the council really lost? In that same time period,
    the UC-wide tuition has grown precipitously and the student government has
    heavily criticized the increases. Isn’t it hypocritical for the same student
    government to now come back to the trough for more?

    3. “Warren Live! should be self-sufficient, in case the A.S.
    Council someday decides to cut off funding.” Warren College students vote in
    campus-wide elections, and with a fifth of all votes, they certainly have clout
    to keep the A.S. spigot on. If not, why not wait until the day actually comes
    to ask for more money? (Also, if the goal is to assure self-sufficiency for the
    concert, why raise an additional $16,000 for unrelated programming for the
    events board and the commuter commission?)

    It sounds like Palay thinks the council has other
    meritorious funding needs. Isn’t it time to stop spending thousands of dollars
    a year on newspapers that students could get online for free? (If things got
    really tough, the council could also sell the piano it bought during the
    spending spree it went on the first year the activity fee largesse rolled in. Or
    not hold its outrageously expensive council retreat each year, which the
    Guardian has amply documented.)

    It may be that Warren College students believe the time has
    come for them to invest more money in the quality of their college’s
    undergraduate life. But they should do so out of a genuine preference for more
    programming, and with a specific spending plan, not because of student
    politicians’ scare tactics.

    — Vladimir Kogan

    Political Science Graduate Student

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