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The issue of whether “Dreamers,” those who were brought to the United States illegally as children, can pay in-state tuition will be decided by Arizona voters in 2022. The matter was referred to the ballot by a narrow vote of the Legislature. That is appropriate because the Dreamers have been blocked in that regard by a 2006 voter-approved proposition, and letting the people decide is a fair solution.

There is much sympathy for the Dreamers because they had nothing to do with their situation. Their legal status should have been clarified years ago but always gets caught up in the political football called immigration reform. The fact that many are long-term residents whose parents have paid taxes in the state raises a question of why they should pay higher out-of-state tuition, especially since many of them are disadvantaged financially.

Meanwhile, a year and a half seems like a long time from now, especially when things are changing so fast on the immigration front. Despite much rhetoric, it is clear that illegal immigration has increased on President Biden’s watch, totaling half a million human beings so far. Some of that is due to the pandemic and some because Biden is seen as more friendly to immigrants. The number of illegal crossings for the year ending in September is projected to reach a 20-year high. And many of those people are not deported.

The immigrants are seeking a better life, just as the ancestors of most Americans did. However, the cost of providing services in medical care, education, housing and other areas cannot yet be calculated, if it ever can be. As border agents deal with and care for the new arrivals, cartels have more opportunity to flood drugs into the country. The impact of that alone is horrible.

Arizona residents will decide the in-state tuition issue. However, more clarity on the current immigration situation would make things easier for at least some of the voters who are undecided.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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