• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Groundbreaking School Choice Movement in Illinois

    School choice is on the march in Illinois. And if the Rev. Senator James Meeks (D-15) has his way, 22,000 children stand to gain a lifeline out of failing public schools in the Prairie State. Senator Meeks introduced the school choice bill, which passed out of the Senate in March. Last Thursday, the Illinois House Executive Committee approved the measure, and the legislation now awaits action any day in the full House. A press release from the Illinois Policy Institute lauded the school choice bill:

    “‘The highest-quality research is clear on two points’, said Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy for the Illinois Policy Institute. ‘School vouchers improve education for students who use them, and the resulting competition improves the performance of surrounding public schools. This is bold policy, but it can change the course of education in Chicago. If the Illinois House passes this legislation, families will have a better choice of schools, public schools will compete for students and improve. This can all be accomplished at no additional cost to taxpayers or public education’.”

    The Chicago Sun-Times also came out in favor of the bi-partisan measure.

    “Studies in Milwaukee, Charlotte, New York and Washington, D.C., documented gains for voucher students. Reading and math scores improved for African-American pupils on vouchers in New York, Washington and Dayton, research showed.

    ”What’s more, competition produced by voucher programs prompts improvement in public schools, according to research on programs in Florida, Milwaukee and San Antonio… Meeks’ bill is a modest one. It would offer a lifeboat to 22,000 kids drowning in Chicago’s lowest-performing elementary schools, 37 of them under state or federal sanctions for at least nine years. If government can’t provide good schools for these kids, politicians, unions and educrats shouldn’t block the private school door offering them hope of a better life.” (Emphasis added.)

    In cities where voucher programs have been in operation, children have benefited significantly. Students in the now embattled D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (D.C. OSP) have made statistically significant gains in reading achievement equivalent to 3.7 months in additional learning. Extrapolate that out over the lifetime of a child’s educational career, and that’s nearly two full years in additional reading achievement. And while children are making tremendous academic gains, they are also safer and their parents are happier.

    Ironically perhaps, Illinois’ landmark school choice language is making its way through the state represented in the U.S. Senate by Richard Durbin (D-IL), author of language now in law that could spell the end the successful D.C. OSP. While Senator Durbin may have been able to thwart the chance for a promising educational future for low-income District children for the time being, the horizon has the potential to get much brighter for children in his home state.

    We know what works in education: empowering parents with the ability to choose the best school for their child. School choice puts families in the driver’s seat and holds schools accountable to parents. For 22,000 low-income families in Illinois, they could soon hold the key to their children’s educational future.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    39 Responses to Groundbreaking School Choice Movement in Illinois

    1. Bob McKenna, Florida says:

      How ironic can it get? Dick Durbin steals opportunity from poor minority students in the District of Columbia, and now it appears state legislators in his home state might afford those same kind of opportunities to the poor minority students there. Durbin should crawl under a rock for taking the side of the NEA against the D. C. students.

    2. Grace says:

      This would be wonderful for the Children of Illinois. Hopefully it's passed and other States follow suite.

    3. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      I'm waiting to hear the howls of protests from the teacher unions and their justifications for opposing this. Should be fun.

    4. Kevin O'Donovan says:

      I believe that school vouchers,given directly to the parents or guardians of students,can potentially solve several systemic problems in our present education schemes.It would promote competition between schools for students.It would give parents more control.It should also reduce state costs by equalizing the amount distributed per student,regardless of race,location,or the financial status of a family.It can also end the bigotry toward religious schools.It can begin to limit the power of public sector unions,and the states will have lower liabilities by transferring to private schools the costs of retirement and health benefits.It is probably too good an idea to pass up,and to good an idea to pass into law.

    5. Ross writes from Flo says:

      I can't wait for government schools to direct school sports to no longer enforce competition or reference can't uphold the rules.

      All competition make everyone who participate to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and gain wisdom, self-esteem, and personal accountability. The same goes for education, vouchers help competitive students compete with like students.

    6. jim brady says:

      This is a primo example of the liberal conundrum, i.e.Shortsightedness. In this specific situation they want desperately to side with their union $$$upporters but to the life long detrament of low income children, whom they would also claim to care about.

    7. lynn, CA says:

      vouchers might be an option to maybe consider if everyone in the whole

      state lived in relatively cluttered urban areas where there were

      actually private schools or even multiple public schools to choose

      from. i grew up in a town with one high school and the nearest one that

      may (very iffy 'may') have been educationally better in comparison was

      almost an hour away. i suppose i could have taken my voucher there, but

      then i would have to pay for my own transportation because there was no

      bus system between the rural towns of south texas. then there's the

      question of separation of church and state when you are essentially

      giving money to entities that will be teaching religion in say a

      private parochial school that can afford to foot the up front cost to

      hire the better teachers and pay for better learning materials and

      technology that will draw such vouchers in the long run.

      it just seems like an excuse to give the upper hand to the people that

      can afford to pay the extra costs of a private education (which there

      still will be even if you get a voucher) and at the same time give the

      government an excuse to say "we gave them the opportunity and handed

      them the money". the point of a public school system is that kids

      should essentially be provided the same opportunities whether you live

      on the west or east sides of town or in the middle of nowhere

      and i think vouchers would eventually cause an even

      larger gap between the good and bad schools leaving those without the

      extra means to rot even further in crummy schools that aren't drawing

      funds.

    8. WILLIAM R.I. says:

      We can not afford another 20 million on welfare. All that means is a large voting block for the DEMS.

    9. Rachael says:

      For 3 decades I have lectured on the failure of the public schools to educate. If this were simply a matter of unprepared teachers the matter would be of concern. However, the public school system has become the government and NEA vehicle for anti-American indoctrination of the nation's children. As the economy has worsened and families increasingly have 2 working outside the home parents less and less attention is paid to text books used and especially to what happens in public school classrooms, in the halls, playgrounds, libraries and especially anything involving "counselling". Public schools are devoid of moral values all in the name of a "value free" education. Value free equals valueless and beyond into the realm of downright damaging to ethos and moral principles. The web cam home spying campaign recently brought to light is one of the more egregious attempts to undermine privacy and family life. Most noteworthy is that system's superintendents attitude — I've done nothing wrong. How long will Americans stand by and allow their children to be fed propoganda rather than facts and learn to depend on entitlements rather than taught skills that provide the choice to be constructive and law-abiding citizens? As a parent you make this choice every single day. Know what happens to your child at school. The public schools are not safe places to be in any way, not in regards to learning facts, physical safety or emotional well-being.

    10. Jody, Chicago-born says:

      Lambaste me if you want — I am a native Chicagoan that does not believe this is fair. I also lived in London, England, for seven years, where schools are a matter of choice, not a matter of living in the cachement or within boundaries of a school district. Are Illinoisians ready to begin shuttling their kids to school every day? Is the state ready to deal with tripling of traffic during school shuttling hours? Why doesn't anyone think that fixing poor schools is the correct answer to the issue? Look at the neighborhoods! Fix the problems instead of spreading it out and making those neighborhood problems the problem of the whole state by an attempt to "dilute" the real cancer. It's ridiculous. People in the burbs pay property taxes to support schools whose performance meets the standards by which they live. THAT is FAIR! they are also willing to pay the pensions and salaries of their high-performing schools. I am sorry, that is what it costs, and you typically don't find it elsewhere. However, it is possible to do only when people pull together and decide that is the standard they want for their children. They need to grow up and take care of their own children as I did mine. In the city where I now live, we pay a HUGE tax to pay for meals for the underprivileged in poor neighborhoods. I grow weary of picking up the tab for those who will not work hard to bring themselves up.

      I worked all my life and continue to do so, as does my spouse. Time to let poor neighborhoods fix their own problems. There is a way out, and I am a success story who knows from firsthand experience that it is true.

    11. Mary Lou Conover,Osw says:

      Got a call this AM from Il Policy Institute urging me to call my Rep.which I did. He said said it was a good first step and the house had an amendment that designated how it would be paid,so it will need to go back to the Senate. Chi. spends HUGE amounts of money and still most schools are failing(magnet schools do great.) I hate to see Chi. get more help when our schools are being severely cut (The state is not giving schools,charities,hospitals money owed.) But I trusted IPI so urged her to vote yes.

    12. John Hazeltine, San says:

      Vouchers and charter schools both give families choice and improve public schools performance. It's good all around. For decades Pell grants have given college students choice. it's time to provide better choice for pre-college years.

      In California, school choice faltered partially because middle-class suburban families worried that children from poorer neighborhoods would drag down quality of education in the suburban schools. Practically speaking, suburban families have little to fear because children with vouchers from less economically fortunate neighborhoods will be eager and competitive learners.

    13. Ed Labrum says:

      It's the LAW of this land. Under Title 18, if you do not report, you can be held up to 1/2 of what they get, (sentence). Get the full story from here, http://www.devvy.com/new_site/declaring_war_on_en

      Let's make the Government personnel do their jobs, or spend time in the poky, and pay the bills.

      ++++++++=

      "It was Truman who pushed the Federal Immigration and National Act of 1952 through Congress in the closing days of his administration. Under Section 8 USC 1324[a](1)(A)[iv][b](iii) any US citizen that knowingly assists an illegal alien, provides them with employment, food, water or shelter has committed a felony. City, county or State officials that declare their jurisdictions to be "Open Cities, Counties or States are subject to arrest; as are law enforcement agencies who chose not to enforce this law. Police officers who ignore officials who violate Section 8 USC 1324[a](1)(A)[iv][b](iii) are committing a Section 274 federal felony. Furthermore, according to Federal Immigration and National Act of 1952, if you live in a city, county or State that refuses to enforce the law for whatever reason, the officials making those rules are financially liable for any crime committed within their jurisdiction by an illegal alien."

      We now have approximately 25 million illegal aliens in the United States (even though the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that number at around 7.3 million). It's time to demand, under threat of impeachment, that Barack Hussein Obama launch Operation Wetback IV, and complete the job started by Hoover and Eisenhower.

      Although they think they are, the President of the United States (legitimate or illegitimate), and the members of Congress are not above the law of the land. If Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV] and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] and any other member of Congress refuses to enforce Section 8 USC 1324[a](1)(A)[iv][b](iii), they need to be impeached for committing a federal felony, tried and removed from office, and then placed on trial in a US federal court (not of their choosing), and sentenced to federal prison for harboring illegal's.

      Furthermore, the United States needs to seize all of the assets of those individuals so that the people of the United States who have been robbed, raped or otherwise injured by an illegal alien can be made financially whole from their asset pool.

    14. James Semple says:

      Vouchers are a good idea and should be implemented as soon as possible. My oldest daughter completed her junior year in high school in six months through a distance learning program, at that rate she could have finished high school in two years as opposed to four, this was before computers were used by every teen in America. Imagine the money saved if only fifty percent of high school students completed their education in half the allotted time.

      In the internet age high school, jr college and university students could have tailor made curriculum designed to be completed at home in ones spare time at their own pace. Eliminating the need for Real Estate school buildings and loads of teachers and professors. The savings to states would be astronomical. The progressives would howl because they would loose much of their control over the school system and the systemic brainwashing of the student population. Perhaps religion and real American History will once again be found in our school system.

    15. Robert Anderson, Pho says:

      Certainly school choice would eventually loosen the stranglehold that the unions have on public education. When has a union (as different from teachers) ever cared about the education of our children.

    16. Robert Anderson, Pho says:

      School choice loosen the stranglehold that unions have over education. When has a union (as opposed to teachers) ever cared one lick for our childrens education.

    17. Babs CA says:

      Most recently I read in the WSJ that Governor Pawlenty is attempting to reform Education at the State Level in response to Obama’s ‘Excellence or something grants’ to the states. I was appalled as he seems to be in the limelight of the Republicans’ arena. By doing so, he is supporting Obama and Big Government. It saddens me that the Republicans keep reacting to Obama’s Agenda rather than being Pro-active and take action to stop the demise. At this point, Obama has eliminated the Congress and is virtually taking over. (Please see attached Administrative Chart).

      The point is, our salvation is for the Governors to take back control of their states. They have Insurance Commissioners in place and if they don’t take action, Sabelius(sp) will decide what Medical Services, if any we will have, after they collect all taxes for their own use. The Department of Education should also be handled by the states and the Federal Education Department eliminated. The young people’s morals are at risk with that Czar in place!

      In closing, I hope you you Wake up the Governors & State Attorney Generals. And we need conservative Judges’ in place or we will have no law!

      I welcome any comments you may like to offer.

      Barbara Jo, Ph. D.

    18. 1dburand@gci.net says:

      I have a great problem with our legislators who don't understand the word "illegal."

    19. Elaina says:

      I think the only way to have a good school system is to have vouchers. The

      school unions have gotten too strong and protect useless teachers and they

      have become to expensive to continue supporting…The so called abbott districts

      have millions poured into them and they are no better than they were before all

      the money. We need to use some common sense. Give the ones a chance who

      want to learn.

    20. toledofan says:

      For the amount of money we're spending on education, it's sad that there are more failures and drop outs today that there were 10 years ago. Vouchers are a good idea or at least a step in the right direction. Some good old competition will either make the public education system change or go out of business.

    21. Dave M. Morristown, says:

      School Choice is imperative as a step to remove the detrimental effect of government and teacher unions from the education system. We need smart and knowledgeable citizens who can succeed and reach their potential in life, however the Government Schools we have now do the opposite. The bigger the government the dumber the populace and the loss of individual freedom which is the goal of big government. Only dumb inept citizens freely give up freedom for government entitlements.

    22. Anne Curtis; Univers says:

      I support school vouchers and school choice 110%!

      Having tutored in public schools in Prince George's County, Maryland, I have first-hand knowledge of how poor the education is–truly a "dumbing-down of America". I also have first-hand knowledge of the huge discipline problems in many schools, not only from what is happening currently in the PG schools, but also from my own experience growing up in south Chicago, where drugs and violence were the norm. Depending on the quality of the public schools in one's area, it is obvious to me why so many people are homeschooling–which is what I did when we moved to Maryland from western Canada. I would never have our children in the PG County schools. I homeschooled our children when we lived in Dallas, Texas, for the very same reason.

      Just as the free market, with the choice it provides, improves the quality of products and services available, free choice in education would improve the quality of public schools. Under such a system, if a school wanted to "stay in business", it would of necessity have to provide a product people wanted. That is the only way public schools are going to be motivated to make the many needed changes. Many parents would also "get behind" a school's attempts to improve, and so would provide the support and "grunt-work" required to produce those changes. Neighborhood schools would become places in which people took ownership and pride.

      It can be done!!

    23. Lanelle Young, Texas says:

      I forgot to put my location, sorry.

    24. Penni, New Jersey says:

      For the life of me I do not understand the bowing down by American Polititions on the behalf of Hispanic Illegals in this country. Is it their votes at the expense of American tax payers?? Look at all the money tax payers would have in their pocket if it were not for taking care of illegals from birth till death and the heck with all of us. Our hospitals are closing, our medical care is costing us for illegals! Speak English!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At times I feel as though I am in Mexico or South America. Our ancestors came here wanting to speak English and assimilate plus bring so much value with them for America. It all changed in the 60's with Robert Kennedy! Our American Heritage is quickly going and our birth rate is down.Keep your hertage but not on American or Government time or dollar. Our family and homes are for that. Many Legal Immigrants in this country are from all over the world who do not demand to have eveything in their language! Life can be hard for them in the beginning but they learn because they want to! Pressing 1 for English. Having Banks, products, stores printing everything in Spanish and sticking us with the extra cost. When do we as Americans have our say and not be bullied by "this" Government? When? Why do people who arrive legally in America are punished in a way for doing the right thing and worked hard for it?

    25. Lanelle Young, Texas says:

      I guess the vauchors are good for the reason stated in the article, but I feel that this is being very racial in that as I understand it it is available only to black children. I am a retired teacher’s aide and was an aide for about 15 years. I worked with the special ed children and loved it, but it was not a descrimatory class, I had white, black and brown. I loved each one of them equally and tried my best to see that each one of them received my attention when they needed it. We did not just teach them how to take a test, but taught the academics. I believe that these tests they children are taught how to take are a detrement to our society. If a teacher is not given the chance to really teach a full 45 mins. or whatever they allow for the class of the hour, they can not really help the child acquire a good firm grasp of what school should be about. I have been in classrooms that only allowed 15 mins. for the real work of reading, writing and arithmetic. It is no wonder our children are graduating high school not being able to read or do simple math. When is the whole education community going to wake up to this fact? this was why I really retired I did not want to be a party to this inferior type of teaching. I come from a long line of teachers and I know my mother is turing over in her grave as she see the terrible type of teaching that is allowed today. If a teacher cannot discipline a child she cannot teach. Get the agnosics and other road blocks out of the way of teachers and let them do what they do best, Teach. respectfully submitted, Lanelle Young

    26. Douglas, Katy, Texas says:

      I read the other comments, and some have valid concerns. But, let's face it our school systems are getting worse…not better. We pour an increased amount of money into them with each new year…exspecting a better result…which we don't get. Isn't the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over…exspecting a different result. I think that it is time to make a change. Give the vouchers a chance…we all know that competion is a good thing…it produces innovation and new ideas with new and better products. I think that…for the chance of a better future…the children deserve it.

    27. Eileen Rivelle, LA, says:

      My concern about school "choice" is not one of philosophy. I agree that parents should be able to determine where their children attend schools. My concern is who should pay for the priveledge. If the state pays for the choice of the school, the state will control the content of the curriculum of the chosen school and the person who will teach the said curriculum. If the individual chooses the school and curriculum, the state is not involved. Look at what happened to the institutions who recently received TARP and bailout monies from Barak Obama. Where the government puts its money, the government puts its imprint. Right now there is school choice, but it comes at a price, either one partner needs to stay home to educate the children, the family needs to make more money to pay for quality education for their children, or the family needs to fine a legitimate reason to send their children to another school within a district or to another district. But if the government is allowed to become involved in educating children in private or home schools, there will be no more school choice. I ask you, who are the orchestrators of school choice in your area? I know that in the late 1990's the liberals wanted to gain control of the private schools in the LA area. Many private schools were against the measure because they would cease to be private schools if they accepted government monies. If you want to allow school "choice" in your state, follow the money. Find out who is involved; who wants the "choice," and you will have all the answers.

    28. Mary T. Del Buono says:

      We can comment all we like on this issue…put it to the kids who want to learn…

      and the ones who just don't care about education who make it so difficult for others to learn. Sad as this sounds some kids need to hit bottom…to see the light. We have tried for years to push kids to learn. Some just do not want to be in school. They need an alteranitive learning area. I know that public education is good for some kids…so is private. I had a very hard time in school learning way back in the dim days, as you might see my spelling is bad. I cannot find my dictonary to correct it. Life is so hard for kids today. We just make it harder…teach the kids book learning so to speak but some just cannot do it…they are not dumb…this testing given by the teachers, or politicians does not help them learn. They just learn testing. Go Back to basics…I believe vouchers should be given to children who excell…so they will not be made fun of or get behind because of kids who do not want to learn at this stage in their lives. So sad…teaching sewing and auto repair or someother will help them…do not teach them to be slaves to the system…we all must find some kind of work to feel worthwhile…making paints for artists…or studying how to keep our water clean with our populace growing…how to lay tracks for trains & keeping them working in good order…there are many things as simple or not as plumbing…we need to teach how to hunt and fish…and keep animals away from our cities at the least…so they do not harm or get hurt…I know I am rambling but God must be in our lives…our founders believed…and I pray we can stay close to Him…to save our beautiful America…and all of our states…and not worrying about what europe does…

    29. Paul Skibba, Louisvi says:

      School choice and vouchers are excellent tools for dealing with specific instances of failing schools. However, they are not the answer to the more fundamental problems in our educational system which despite countless program "innovations" and billions of dollars produces no better outcomes whatever the measure.

    30. John Bykerk, Eugene, says:

      Illinios? Wonderful! School choice will introduce competition into the public school system – Much needed and long overdue.

    31. Jim says:

      This will be interesting to see. The teachers union will be fighting this tooth and nail because they see any such action as a threat to the status quo. It could mean that teachers and administrators in the public school system would be held under scrutiny for not doing what the teachers in the voucher schools can do with the same students. SUCCEED in educating young minds.

    32. Anita Dragoo, Coupev says:

      Does anyone consider that the real reason vouchers work is this: parents are paying their hard-earned dollars for their child's education, so they tend to be more involved and vocal about how the children are taught and more involved in seeing that their child behaves and does his lessons. Over the years, public schools have "provided" more for the child in textbooks, computers, breakfasts, lunches, after-school supervision, medical care, extra-curricular activities, transportation at taxpayers' expense. The illusion is that "public education" is free. When individual parents paid up-front, they valued education more, and they saw to it that their children valued it, too.

      Vouchers may reveal the truth that taxpayers are funding education, and that is beneficial. But I think that public schools would also benefit if parents once more assumed a personal financial responsibility in their child's education.

      Signed, a retired high school teacher with thirty years' experience and a parent as well

    33. Dave, York, Pa. says:

      I am very much in favor of school choice programs. Our educational system is a disgrace. Since the federal government took control of the public school system from the local communities and established the incredibly expensive and totally useless Dept of Education we have seen a persistent slide in quality education. Also, the establishment of teachers unions makes teacher accountability difficult if not impossible to implement because of the restrictions placed on school boards and administrators.

      One could see the deterioration coming decades ago when all of these changes, i.e. federal control, unions, etc. were made. In addition to the above, discipline was lost when dress codes were relaxed and corporal punishment was eliminated. All of these factors in my opionion, contributed to the slide in quality education.

      I firmly believe our children deserve a quality education. However, I don't believe it's possible with the federal government in control of our schools. I believe the Department of Education should be disbanded. I believe control of schools should be returned to the local communities or, the states if necessary. I also believe the curriculm nneds to be changed to place more emphasis on the traditional subjects including American history (unaltered), civics, geography, etc. I also believe physical education should be emphasized. Perhaps, we wouldn't have so many overweight kids if gym classes resumed. I also think discipline needs to be restored.

      If our children can't get a quality education in public schools, parents should be able to obtain vouchers to enrolled them in charter schools. The powers to be are more concerned about indoctrinating our children than providing a quality education. They are more interested in teaching our kids about perverted values than traditional family or American values. We need change now. Take control back to the local level.

    34. Norman Henry, Colche says:

      Opponents of the new Arizona immigration law have the mistaken belief that using the profile of Mexican appearance, limited English speaking ability, age, and other indications, having nothing to do with racial discrimination per se, is in violation of civil rights.

      Immigration law enforcement profiling applies to the illegal alien population. If the illegal alien population were from Ireland, France, China, India, Africa, or elsewhere the profiling would apply to that illegal alien population.

      As an INS Special Agent I questioned and arrested hundreds of illegal aliens in New York City based on profiling them primarily by their appearance, ability to speak English, and the circumstances of the encounter. The same profile was, and is, used for Europeans, Asians, Africans, etc.

      I rarely questioned a native born United States citizen. If the person I questioned was not an illegal alien I made a simple and sincere apology for the inconvenience.

      Simple questions quickly establish whether the person questioned is a United States citizen, a lawful permanent resident, a lawful nonimmigrant such as visitor, student, temporary worker, etc, or whether the person questioned is an illegal alien.The first question usually is Where were you born? or, Where are you from? asked first in English and then, if deemed necessary, in the suspected language of the person being question, which, today is usually Spanish.

      The U.S. citizenship or alien immigration status is quickly determined after that. It is hard for an illegal alien to lie effectively.

      Documents requested of legal aliens include an Alien Registration Card (I-151) for a lawful permanent resident, or an Arrival/Departure document (I-94) for a lawful non-immigrant. A sensible explanation of their status most often will suffice in lieu of documentation.

      False claims to United States citizenship are easily broken starting with the warning that a false claim to United States citizenship is a criminal violation subject to imprisonment upon conviction.

      Few illegal aliens make false claims to United States citizenship.

      In essence, a person cannot immigrate to the United States unless the person has a U.S. citizen, or lawful immigrant, relative here, or a skill needed as determined by a Dept. of Labor certification, plus two or three esoteric categories including "diversity immigrants" that are a small percentage of lawful immigrants.

      Lawful immigration to the United States is under 500,000 immigrants per year. 468,770 immigrant visas were issued in 2009.

      Over 99.9% of the 6 billion people in the world outside the United States, including over 99.9% of the 10 to 20 million illegal Mexican aliens in the United States, do not qualify as lawful immigrants.

      What is the value of "permanent presence" in the United States that the illegal alien has "stolen"? If you were required to leave the U.S. unless you paid to stay, what would you be willing to pay? $100, $1,000, $10,000, $50,000?

      If an alien robbed a bank of $50,000 would the alien avoid being "deported" to jail if the alien "worked hard and paid taxes" and the alien supported a spouse and U.S. citizen children? Working hard, paying taxes, and supporting a family would not excuse robbing a bank and should not excuse "stealing" immigrant presence in the United States.

      The solution to violation of immigration law is enforcement with a penalty including required departure from the United States either voluntarily or under deportation. Imprisonment should be imposed as appropriate, for example conviction for reentry into the U.S. following deportation.

      Catch and release policy must be ended for both border and interior arrests.

      Finally, amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens presently in the U.S. should be selective and limited to "Conditional Permanent Residence" (CPR). The condition being that CPR's would be ineligible for U.S. citizenship because U.S. citizenship would enable them to bring their relatives to the United States which would further reward their violation of immigration law.

      Norman Henry

      Special Agent, Immigration Examiner, Officer-in-Charge (retired)

      U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) (also retired)

    35. Bob south dakota says:

      in my state if a game wardon asks for your hunting or fishing permit you must show him or go to court and lose it for one yr.then why is it wrong to ask a migrant worker waiting outside home depot for his green card??

    36. Stanley L Sitcler, I says:

      A step in the right direction. We desperately need to get our schools out of the hands of the Federal Government.

      Stan Sitcler

      South Carolina

    37. Vicki Crist, Utah says:

      Hooray and keep at it!

    38. cynthia says:

      But we also need to get our schools out of the hands of local school boards too. Many times these individuals don't have an education, children in the schools or any knowledge of business. They are allowed to do what ever they wish without controls. They can enter into financiial agreements putting communites in debt forever and they are not required by any rules to accomplaish anything.

      So local school board control is not an answer either.

      We need independent representation of the students best intrest. Right now we don't have any of that in our public or even many private schools.

    39. jake says:

      Sounds like a good idea to me. Charter schools have be springing up everywhere where I live in utah county because of similar problems…. Now if only auto repair were easy to come by.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×