Colorado State of Mind, Ted Harvey, February 1, 2013

Station:      Rocky Mountain PBS, KRMA-TV, Channel 6

Show:        Colorado State of Mind

Guests:      Harvey

Topic:        ASSET Legislation


Date:         February 1, 2013

Topics:      ASSET, Cynthia Hessin, Representative Crisanta Duran, Entitlement, Illegal Immigrants, Illegal Aliens, Undocumented Students, Illegal Immigrants, Parents, Benefits, State Universities, Dreamers, Anchor Babies, Status, Citizenship, United States Citizens, Colorado College Opportunity Fund, Metropolitan State University, In-state Tuition, Out-of-State Tuition

HOST CYNTHIA HESSIN:   You are not in favor of passing this Colorado ASSET bill.  So, what is you main objection?

SENATOR TED HARVEY:  Well, first off, I don’t think it is appropriate for the state of Colorado to be dealing with this immigration issue.   It’s more of a federal issue, not a state issue.  But, also, I think that we need to know what we are actually doing.  We are giving another entitlement to people who have broken our country’s laws, and using tax payer dollars to reward people for breaking our laws.  And, whenever you reward people for bad behavior, you encourage more bad behavior.  And I think that is just bad public policy.  But more importantly, as a public policy maker, it is bad for us to be taking money from one individual and giving it to another individual who is not entitled to this government subsidy.

HESSIN:   All right.  Let’s break that down a little bit.  In this case, the people who would stand to gain are in many cases – in most cases, I think—children who didn’t break the laws themselves, but were brought here by their parents.   So, are they the ones who need to learn a lesson?

HARVEY:  Well, it’s the family that is getting the benefit.  The parents aren’t having to pay the full rate of that college education.  The parents, conscientiously, and I would do the same, came here to give a better opportunities for their family.  And certainly they have done that.  They came here for jobs.  They came here for schooling.  They get a free education for their kids from K through 12.  And the taxpayers had to subsidize that.  Now, they are saying, “Well, let’s give us one more taxpayer subsidy”.  And that is higher education,  paid for at in-state tuition rates.  If we continue to do this, and continue to  give more benefits to people who break our laws, We are going to incentivize a whole  ‘nother generation of families to come here illegally.  There are people coming here legally from all over the world.  And they’re doing it in the proper way.  If we are going to give these kind of things to people who have broken our laws, why don’t we give instate tuition to all foreign nationals.  It’s not fair to them, for us to be charging them an out-of-state international rate, and then giving in-state tuition to these kids.

HESSIN:   Would you amend the bill that way?

HARVEY:  It wouldn’t pass!

HESSIN:   You don’t think?

HARVEY:  No, definitely not.  The universities get millions and millions of dollars from these international students.  Because we charge them at such a higher rate than we do even out-of-state students, much less instate students.

HESSIN:   Part of the reasoning behind doing this is somewhat “self-important”, because it’s important to our selves that our economic future be saved from people who aren’t educated and who don’t have a way to do their part in the economy.

HARVEY:  Well, I think – I don’t agree with that argument.  I believe that it incentivizes more lower income, lower skilled workers to come here and work in the United States and get these benefits.  So we’re actually bringing in lower skilled workers which are taking jobs from low-employ—low income US citizens.  And it’s incentivizing that kind of behavior.  I believe that we should have borders.  I believe that we should have the ability to invite the immigrants that we want to come in– high skilled laborers, healthy laborers, non-criminal individuals.  But in the ag[ricultural] communities or in the construction communities, we should require the agriculture producers and the construction companies to go through the process.  There are visas for those kind of works — to bring in low-skilled workers, to be able to do those jobs legally, and then to be able to go back home.

HESSIN:   There’s a huge back up, though.  Right?  I’m sorry [for interrupting].

HARVEY:  I agree.  I agree.  That’s one of the biggest problems.  We need to be putting pressure on the federal government to change the immigration visa process.  To allow ag[ricultural] workers and construction workers to be able to come up here on a more broad population than we are right now.  That’s a federal issue.  I’m a state senator, not a US senator and I can’t change that, but certainly we should not, at the state level, be doing things that even exacerbate the problem even worse than it already is by giving incentives to—for more people to come here illegally.

HESSIN:   There’s a woman from your part of the state who has a big horse farm, and I can remember interviewing her about immigration some years ago.

HARVEY:  Helen Kriebold.

HESSIN:   That’s it, Helen.  And she said there should just be an employment agency at the border.  What do you think about that?

HARVEY:  Well, I think that is essentially what we are doing with the immigration process with H1B visas for ag[ricultural]  workers and stuff like that.  But, like we just said, it’s terrible in the way how small the number is that they’re allowing of people to come in.  We need to open that up and lessen the paper work, and allow employers to do it on a more broad scale.  But that’s not the issue of this bill.

HESSIN:   So, if, down the line, the federal government does try and improve some of these things, would you be in favor then, if you knew that you were only offering it to a certain finite group of individuals?

HARVEY:  If we closed off the border and made sure it was secure, so we wouldn’t have more illegal immigration coming in.  The problem is, is, is if — we did that once.  Ronald Reagan  did it in the 1980s when he gave amnesty to about 10 million people, saying, “Alright, this is the last time we’re going to do this.  We’re going to stop the illegal immigration, and we’re going to allow this population to be normalized.”  Well, that didn’t work.  We now have upwards to 50 million illegal immigrants in the United States looking for help.  And It is a tough situation. You know, a lot of these kids have been here a long time.  They think of themselves as Americans.  But if we do this, it just going to encourage an entire ‘nother generation, just like the Reagan policy did, and that’s something that is not good for America.  We are a country of laws.

HESSIN:   Thank you, state Senator Ted Harvey, and I’m sure that we will talk again about immigration.