Bad Bills and Bitter Pills –
Democrats Attack the Constitution Through Unconstitutional Bills
Episode Three: Legislative Attacks on Federalism and Immigration (It’s a Trifecta of Assaults on the Rule of Law)
I admit it, I am a nerdy bear. I love to read and research; my interests are quite eclectic. My master’s degree is in public administration. I love policy analysis. One of my hobbies is to read bills submitted at the federal, state, and local levels and compare them against the Constitution and principles of federalism. That’s why it’s quite dismaying to see the multitude of bills that are diametrically opposed to the Constitution submitted at both the federal and state levels. The escalation of attacks against the Constitution from all sides is truly frightening. Most Constitutionally antithetical bills usually focus on one issue. However, H.R. 2071 – American Dream Promise Act, sponsored by Representative Marc A. Veasey (D-TX-33), manages to attack American federalism on a couple of fronts.
The stated purpose of the American Dream Promise Act is, “To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prohibit institutions of higher education from denying students admission on the basis of immigration or naturalization status.”
But what does this actually bill do?
Firstly, this bill undermines the Constitution and our basic federalist system . The Founding Fathers identified several reasons for creating a federalist government, specifically to avoid tyranny, allow more individual participation in politics, and to encourage political innovation where the states act as the testing grounds for new ideas and programs.
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that permits the national government to establish a national department of education. And yet, through the course of time and the chipping away of dual federalism, the Department of Education was established. It was organized when President Jimmy Carter signed “S.210 – An Act to Establish a Department of Education, and for other purposes” into law as the Department of Education Organizing Act on October 17, 1979. The Department of Education was established as part of the decentralization of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare established in 1953 under President Eisenhower.
Since its inception, the Department of Education has swelled from a budget of $12,000,000,000 ($12 billion) and three thousand employees to a budget of $73,000,000,000 ($73 billion) and roughly 5,000 employees . The purported goal of the Department of Education is to promote student achievement for global competitiveness. Ironically, student achievement has declined since 1980. The Department of Education has become a bloated black-hole into which taxpayer funds have been drained, with little to no benefit for students.
Many constitutional scholars agree that the Department of Education is one of many unconstitutional agencies . There is nothing in the Constitution that allows nationalization of education. Indeed, this is one area best suited to the states, which can better identify and tailor educational programs to the needs of their students at a state, county, and local level. Furthermore, the Department of Education is continually encroaching on the private lives of students and their parents, in a manner which is unsettling at best. Arne Duncan, Education Secretary under President Obama, once made the following statement that best describes this invasion of privacy:
Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career… We want to see more states build comprehensive systems that track students from pre-K through college and then link school data to workforce data. We want to know whether Johnny participated in an early learning program and completed college on time and whether those things have any bearing on his earnings as an adult.
Secondly, the stated purpose of H.R. 2071 – American Dream Promise Act is to force institutions of higher education to accept students who are illegally in the country, whether by their choice or not. This most likely will be argued under the Commerce Clause, which has been abused to expand federal control up to and including Obamacare. This will further erode the Constitutional authority of these United States to control and manage those areas of government not specifically assigned to the national government.
H.R. 2071 attacks the rule of law, and will force institutions of higher education to break the law and shelter illegal immigrants, a form of legislative tyranny that seeks to subvert U.S. Immigration Law without changing the immigration laws themselves. This will forcibly create “Sanctuary Colleges” and place undue risks and liability upon the institutions who will also be forced to defend themselves from possible litigation by U.S. citizens and legal residents who may be passed over for enrollment due to limits on resources that the institutions of higher education may have. I foresee multiple lawsuits against colleges and universities for discrimination based upon citizenship and legal residency status, as well as law suits by illegal immigrants who may not be accepted based on academics who will claim victimhood due to their illegal immigration status. This is a recipe for disaster for colleges and universities.
Finally, the push to force institutions of higher education to accept illegal immigrants also creates an unfunded mandate that negatively impacts state and local governments as well as taxpaying citizens and legal residents who immigrated to the United States and who attend colleges and universities. According to a 2013 report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) the estimated annual costs of “illegal immigration at the federal, state and local level to be about $113 billion; nearly $29 billion at the federal level and $84 billion at the state and local level. ” Education is the largest of these expenses.
“Education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the single largest cost to taxpayers, at an annual price tag of nearly $52 billion. Nearly all of those costs are absorbed by state and local governments. ” However, these costs do not just burden state and local governments. Individuals have been hard hit by increasing costs of education. Since 1986, tuition costs for public institutions of higher education have more than doubled for two-year colleges and more than tripled for four-year universities , as evidenced in the following Table.
Table 2A: Average Tuition and Feeds and Room in Board in 2016 Dollars, 1976-77 to 2016-77, Selected Years.
We cannot allow H.R. 2071 – American Dream Promise Act to pass. It undermines the Constitution’s limitation on federal government powers, further nationalizing education. It forces institutions of higher education to break national immigration laws without Congress changing the respective immigration laws. It further weakens the ability of colleges and universities to provide quality education for United States Citizens and legal residents, who will either be forced to pay ever higher tuition to cover the unfunded mandates of illegal aliens, or will be forced to sue for discrimination as they are not accepted at colleges and universities due to the mandate to enroll illegal immigrations. This type of denial creates a discriminatory status based on their legal status in the United States. Not only because of the increased lawlessness promoted in H.R. 2071, but because the Department of Education is a failed concept that needs to end. Education of our children is too important to be left in the control of out-of-touch and discriminatory inclinations of the administrators at the national level. Education must be handled at the state and local level, and preferably led by parents, not politicians.
It is indeed a bitter pill to see elected officials seek to negate the Constitution for the goal of increasing national control, attacking state rights, invading individual privacy, and eroding the national sovereignty of the country through attacks on immigration law. These attacks MUST stop. It is time to #KillTheBill!
We, as citizens of this great nation and these United States, MUST act to prevent such attacks.
But how do we, the people, protect our Constitution? We can do this several ways. For example:
1) Pay attention to what Congress is submitting for vote. You can track any bill introduced through https://www.congress.gov/
2) Contact your elected Senators and Representatives by phone, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, email, AND letter (a written letter is ALWAYS best) and let them know you reject this bill and WHY.
3) Tell them you reject any actions that weaken our Constitution in general.
That’s what I’m going with this bad bill and bitter pill!
“If truth be not diffused, error will be.” –Daniel Webster
Author’s Note: The only bright point to this bill is a separate bill, introduced by Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY-4), with ten co-sponsors. H.R. 899 – To Terminate the Department of Education is one sentence long and simply states:
“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”
Now THIS is a bill I can wholeheartedly support. If you support H.R. 899, tell your elected officials that, too! For more information on this bill, go to “End the ED, Abolish the Dept. of Education With H.R. 899” from the John Birch Society.
 H.R.2071 – American Dream Promise Act. Sponsored by Rep. Marc A. Veasey (D-TX-33). Introduced April 6, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2071/text
 “Federalism.” FederalistCoalition.com. Published on YouTube April 11, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNL7c-_6CSk&list=PLjqsV6ox2bAbVuXuEVMUZ1s1MZ9jp2bpR&index=1
 “Principles of Federalism.” Draft Prepared by the UCL Committee on Federalism and State Law. Page 7. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. http://www.uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/federalism%20and%20state%20law/federalism_principles.pdf
 S.210 – An act to establish a Department of Education, and for other purposes. Introduced by Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-CT). 96th Congress. Introduced January 24, 1979. Passed into law October 17, 1979. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/96th-congress/senate-bill/210/actions
 93 STAT. 668 – Department Of Education Organization Act of 1979. 96th Congress. Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 17, 1979. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/STATUTE-93/STATUTE-93-Pg668/content-detail.html
 “Why We Have a Federal Department of Education.” T.J. O’Hara. Education. February 9, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://ivn.us/2017/02/09/federal-department-education/
 “Yes, the Department of Education is Unconstitutional.” Adam B. Schaeffer. Cato Institute. September 6, 2011. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.cato.org/blog/yes-department-education-unconstitutional; “Issue Profile: Unconstitutional Federal Agencies.” Ashe Schow. Heritage Action for America. November 3, 2011. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. http://heritageaction.com/2011/11/issue-profile-unconstitutional-federal-agencies/; and
“Abolish the Department of Education.” Wendy McElroy. The Future of Freedom Foundation. March 1, 2016. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/abolish-department-education/
 “Robust Data Gives Us the Roadmap to Reform.” Speech by Secretary Arne Duncan at the Fourth Annual IES Research Conference. June 8, 2009. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/06/06082009.html
 “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers (2013).” Jack Martin and Eric A Ruark. July 2010 (Updated 2013). Federation for American Immigration Reform. Retrieved from the Web June 6, 2017. http://www.fairus.org/publications/the-fiscal-burden-of-illegal-immigration-on-united-states-taxpayers
 IBID, p. 2.
 IBID, p. 1.
 “Tuition and Fees and Room and Board over Time, 1976-77 to 2016-17, Selected Years.” Trends in College Pricing. CollegeBoard.org. Retrieved from the Web June 6, 2017. https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-and-room-and-board-over-time-1976-77_2016-17-selected-years
 IBID. Table 2A: Average Tuition and Fees and Room and Board in 2016 Dollars, 1976-77 to 2016-17, Selected Years
 “5 Smart Reasons to Abolish the Department of Education.” Logan Albright. Conservative Review. February 11, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/5-smart-reasons-to-abolish-the-department-of-education
 “Bill to Shut U.S. Education Department Introduced in Congress.” Alex Newman. TheNewAmerican. February 8, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/education/item/25345-bill-shutting-u-s-education-department-introduced-in-congress
 H.R.899 – To terminate the Department of Education. Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY-4). 115th Congress. Introduced February 7, 2017. Retrieved from the Web May 30, 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/899/text