Seeing RI Policy Through a National Lens


Being so enmeshed in Rhode Island policy and politics, while also following national news and commentary, I always find it to be like a crossing of the streams when the state becomes part of the national narrative.  Here’s Rhode Island’s entry into the national conversation about “free” college, via a Grace Gottschling report on CampusReform, under the headline, “RI Gov. pushes for ‘free’ college… with $200 million deficit”:

All graduating high school students, regardless of family income, are eligible for RI Promise and non-citizen residents are also eligible. It is unclear if this proposed expansion to include Rhode Island College, the four-year state school, would also allow non-citizen residents to be eligible. According to the RI Promise website, individuals are eligible if they are Rhode Island residents and qualify for in-state tuition. Rhode Island is one of two states in the nation that allows individual college Boards of Regents to decide whether to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

Campus Reform reached out to the governor’s office to confirm whether illegal immigrants would be eligible for free, four-year college under the proposed expansion, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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Sometimes it renews one’s sense of the insanity of Rhode Island governance to presumptively see it through the eyes of those who live elsewhere.  Perhaps increased coverage by the Boston Globe will mean more RI-story pickups at lower-tier publications like CampusReform.

  • Mario

    I remain steadfast in my position that there is no reason that Rhode Island’s decision about who counts as one of its number should be tied to the citizenship decision of another government. States are legitimate, sovereign entities who created the Federal government, not the reverse. People can be both illegal immigrants to the US and legitimate Rhode Island citizens at the same time, if that’s how the state chooses to arrange itself.

    • D. S. Crockett

      Respectfully, but, isn’t the US Census conducted by and paid for by the US Government? Seems like the states already seeded their independence as sovereign entities with passing of the 17th Amendment.

      • ShannonEntropy

        The sovereignty of the States is enshrined in the 10th Amendment; their sovereign immunity is guaranteed by the 11th

        The States themselves ratified the 17th, which gives “the people” the right to elect senators. This is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the the 10th

        • D. S. Crockett

          Respectfully, yes, but, those representatives do not represent state interest but the interest of the mob who elected them. Not to mention, the states no longer have fiscal autonomy without the largess of the federal government. So, they may be sovereign “on the paper” but they are not now independent states as the founder’s intended.

    • ShannonEntropy

      If illegals are “legitimate Rhode Island citizens” how come they can’t vote ??

      Oooops !! Excuse me… they can. If you needed to be a citizen to vote, you would have to either be born here — in which case you would speak English — or be naturalized. If the latter, you have to pass a citizenship test, given only in English

      So why are the signs at polling places bilingual ?? Cuz we let illegals vote, even if we pretend they aren’t supposed to

      If I’m wrong, then explain to me the photo at the top of this article:

      • Mario

        Regardless of how things work now, I would let them vote, too. Only in state & local elections, of course.

        I also once helped someone navigate the citizenship process. The actual English requirement is extremely narrow, you only need the most basic of comprehension. I’m not even sure you need to know any for the actual test part, I only saw it as a separate, verbal interview. Nevertheless, I did see a woman there fail the test.

        • ShannonEntropy

          The only time I went to the local Social Security office, everyone in there was speaking Spanish. WTF ??

          The WarshPost recently published a citizenship test:

          I thought it was ridiculously easy. Decades ago they used to ask you stuff like who was VP under Grover Cleveland. But…. my own kids, age 37 & 38 yrs, failed miserably

          Of course these are the same kids who had never heard of Pearl Harbor so it wasn’t all that shocking

        • Rhett Hardwick

          My “Ex” also went through the citizenship process. The interviewer (as with many, the nephew of a Senator from Connecticut, or similar, known to leave open Hustler mags around his office) seemed most interested in whether she had ever been a prostitute or starred in “blue movies”. He had her in tears in seconds. Her “witness” was the great granddaughter of the author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. She began with “Young man, your attitude is completely unbecoming in a public servant”. After my divorce, I got to know several women from “immigration”. I found this to be pretty common behavior.
          The “witness”, Frances Minturn Howard, causes me to wonder. Who today would “take on” a public official able to do harm?

          • ShannonEntropy

            I hear ya….

            Try telling a surly DMV worker “My taxes pay your salary !!”

            He will likely respond: “Hey Dora… we got us a big VIP in here today… his taxes pay our salaries !! Well, tell ya what Mr Bigshot… you go right ahead and *stop* paying those taxes… that’ll fix *us* !!”

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Yes, Mrs. Howard was of an age likely to be infected with a naivete. “governments only hire the best people”, “All bankers are honest, it is a requirement of the job”. She probably thouht that if she went “high enough up the ladder” someone would back her. I once encountered the local head of immigration at my lunch club, he certainly didn’t want to hear about it.

    • Justin Katz

      I might agree with you if states (in particular our state) were in the habit of actively protecting their own residents against the impositions of the federal government. Not finding that to be the case, I question the motives of politicians who choose to use the state’s sovereign rights to protect illegal immigrants but not legal citizens.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        I think we have long been in the habit of selling “state’s right”. I understand it is usually done through “Highway funds”. “If you don’t go along, we pull the highway funds”. Protecting illegal immigrants drives “population” up, increasing the claims to federal largess. Back in the early days of the ‘homeless problem” there was much discussion of mayors counting homeless 2 and 3 times. Hoping for more funds based on population.

        • ShannonEntropy

          One of my aunts lived in Wheeling WV and her family stayed put during the “white flight” of the 50s & 60s

          She used to tell us that all her black neighbors were on welfare, and that when the welfare workers went door-to-door to verify body counts, after the count the kids would run out the back door and in thru the back door of the neighboring house ahead of the workers, thus getting counted repeatedly

          Whether that story was just apocryphal or not, who knows ?? But it sounds like something welfare recipients would do

          • Rhett Hardwick

            I also had relatives who participated in white flight; largely from Richmond and other Southern cities. They had plenty of stories, but this does sound apocryphal. Along the lines of “they all look the same”.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Just thinking about apocryphal. My Southern Protestant relatives (who knew no Catholics) were always full of stories about the activities of priests, children and nuns. Now they are proving correct. Perhaps a definition for “apocryphal” might be “What every adult knows must be happening, but has not personally observed it.”

          • ShannonEntropy

            Among sociologists & cultural anthropologists who study the Urban Legend phenomenon, this is called “FOAF”
            “… a Friend Of A Friend said …”

            Great book on the subject for us non-pros: