County board member urges Governors State to bar illegal immigrants

County board member urges Governors State to bar illegal immigrants

County board member Steve Balich urges Governors State to bar illegal immigrants. | File photo

 

A Will County board member this week called for Governors State University and other publicly funded universities in Illinois to stop serving illegal immigrants.

Board member Steve Balich (R-Homer Glen), who founded the 11,000-member Will County Tea Party Alliance, called on publicly funded universities such as Governors State to follow federal law and serve the interests of taxpayers by no longer providing higher education to illegal immigrants.

“They still don’t belong here,” Balich told the Will County Gazette. “They’re taking a spot from an American citizen at that school.”

Governors State reports that during the fall term, 16 university students identified themselves on applications as illegal immigrants, although no illegal immigrants have apparently applied for admission for the Fall 2017 session. Other state universities, however, report higher numbers of illegal immigrants in their student populations.

“I’m hoping that when (President-elect Donald) Trump gets in, he will enforce the law,” Balich said.

He went on to add that it’s costing the debt-ridden state a huge amount of money to educate illegal immigrants at its public universities.

Governors State, however, expressly states on its website that people who are not legally residing in Illinois can still apply to the university and pay the in-state tuition rate. The university’s policy cites a state law that allows illegal immigrants to be considered Illinois residents for the purpose of paying tuition.

Such students, however, do have to meet certain criteria. The requirements include having attended a high school in the state while residing with parents, as well as receiving a high school diploma or equivalent certification in Illinois. Affected students must also provide an affidavit promising they will file documents to eventually become permanent U.S. residents.

Balich said the issue of sanctuary cities, such as Chicago, that protect illegal immigrants from being prosecuted for violating federal immigration laws is another major problem that leads to negative effects on state taxpayers. If a city wants to be a sanctuary, federal money going to its schools and other infrastructure projects should be withheld, while the mayor should be held in contempt of court and prosecuted, he said.

If the mayors of smaller cities violate any of an array of laws, they would be prosecuted, Balich said. As such, he wonders why the Chicago mayor is seemingly above the law.

“Put them in jail and lock them up,” Balich said.

The Will County board member argues that no additional state laws are needed to prevent illegal immigrants from attending publicly funded universities. All that’s necessary is to enforce existing immigration laws, said Balich, who doesn’t want new immigrants attending public colleges unless they have either education or work visas.

While working at the local level in Homer Glen, Balich spearheaded the passage of a bill that called for enforcement of all existing immigration laws and to make English the official language so that ballots would need not be printed in multiple languages. Such a common-sense approach could benefit taxpayers across the state, he said.

“There’s no way an illegal alien should be allowed to get any benefits whatsoever and use any of our infrastructure for free,” Balich said.

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