Chris Fitzsimon is upset. And he should be. Popular sentiment for his position is low. And this time, the unwashed masses are correct. No quicker than he can utter the word "xenophobe" or "demogogue" has he thrown out citizenship, the rule of law, and the truth with the bathwater. Allow me to dissect his latest effort…
The first of his talking points, he has rehashed ad nauseum:
Community college officials say 340 undocumented immigrants are currently enrolled and paying out of state tuition. That is less than one tenth of one percent of the system’s 270,000 students.
We know, Chris, we know — 340. Fitzsimon – with all the win-at-all-costs mendacity that comes naturally to the left – doesn’t care to mention the possibility that people who are willing to lie and use forged documentation to get jobs here, might also do so to get into community college. Doesn’t occur to him that illegals may be using false numbers, IDs, etc.? If it does, he’s willing simply to overlook the overwhelming anecdotal evidence — so he can use the 340 number to suggest people are making a big deal out of nothing.
But this point comes back to bite him. Because if there are so few people in the system, why is he so eager to break the law to extend them subsidized benefits? It cuts both ways. But what cuts deeper is his apparent naivete — in the face of common sense (i.e. illegal immigrants lie to get what they want.).
Next untruth: undocumented students are actually subsidizing the community college system.
How many times do we have to explain to Chris that – in order to subsidize a system – you have to pay over-and-above the full costs (including capital costs – you know, like lights, buildings, parking decks and all that good stuff). Sadly, tuition funds only around 12.5 percent of the community college budget. That leaves 87-odd percent unfunded. No matter how you slice it, out-of-state tuition does not a subsidy make. But that’s ok. It’s not about the truth for Fitzsimon. It’s about a talking point he’s hoping will become some sort of meme. (Nope. Not on our watch.)
Distorted claim: The new anti-immigrant talking points includ [sic] assertions based on numbers plucked out of thin air.
Hmmm. OK, so let me get this straight — Fitzsimon is willing blindly to accept the community college’s 340 number (not exactly speaking truth to power), but is giving Civitas researchers a hard time because they are trying to determine how many people may plausibly be lying in the system? Last time I checked, liars don’t fill out surveys with the "real truth" so that government number crunchers can have accurate data. Civitas uses the only proxy it can: census data + reasonable inferences. Fitzsimon is content with 340. And that’s fine, because people aren’t as stupid or gullible as he assumes.
OK, here’s the real doozy — a contradiction so obvious we can only conclude either Fitzsimon failed Intro to Logic, or he thinks we’re really dumb: The average age of community college students is close to 30, so the demographics are at best confusing.
Confusing, huh? It turns out that only 1/3 of community college students are from 18-21 — those whom Fitzsimon has curiously defined as "children". (Ah, poorly done sophistry.) So we might infer, then, that only 114 are "children". The rest of these truth-telling illegals are in their 20s and 30s (certainly not children, nor those likely educated here from K-12) — taking advantage of a system they may or may not pay for in taxes. But it gets even better. Only a few sentences down:
They [Civitas] are obsessed with keeping immigration front and center in this years political debate, no matter … how many teenagers they have hurt in the process.
Cracking, ain’t it? Well, at least these college students have finally been upgraded from children to teenagers. Now, to belabor the obvious: is it that there are only x immigrants, so why make a big deal that they’re unlawfully attending community college? Or is it that there are x immigrants being "hurt" by preventing them from receiving benefits reserved for legal taxpaying citizens?
Fitzsimon has really outdone himself this time. If I were his funders, I’d think about de-moting him. If I were hopeful politicians on the left, I’d find him a muzzle. You see, implicit in all his rhetoric is that people who are interested in protecting citizenship and the rule of law are somehow racist, xenophobic nativists. But the trouble is, the people who are angry about this affront to fairness, the law and the meaning of citizenship aren’t going to take too kindly to those kinds of accusations — not to mention those people – black, white and brown – enduring legal processes.
So, go ahead, keep it up. We’ll just sit back and watch him self-destruct (along with those he serves).
(Update: here’s a chart detailing Civitas’s methodology for estimating how many illegals may be in the N.C. system.)