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The House of Representatives is considering HR2202, which would allow states to kick undocumented children out of school.

Makes sense to me.If the number of people who are in this country illegally is as high and their pressure on the service system is as great as we've been told, it only makes sense that we wouldn't want the children of these "foreigners" in our schools where they are doing something productive.

Why on earth would we want them to feel valued? Who would even consider giving them the benefits of an education, which could lead to greater productivity and self-esteem?

Forget everything you've been told about idle hands and the devil's handiwork. Forget the links between lack of education and poverty, crime, domestic violence and other social ills. . . .

In fact, it is one of the most counterproductive ideas that has come down the legislative channel in a long time. And there have been some doozies.

Most Americans agree that this country established immigration policies for a reason and those policies should be obeyed. But denying the children of illegal immigrants an education is a demonstration of illogic on a grand scale.

Former President George Bush, speaking at a convention in Reno, Nev., last week, said it well: "We have to control our borders. We have to do a better job to ensure our laws are being followed. But you don't have to do it with a bitterness that takes a little 7-year-old kid out of school . . . and shoves him back across a bridge dividing our country."

Bush, in fact, said quite a bit about the mean-spiritedness of the national debate about immigration. And he had harsh words for the political wannabes who use immigration as a club in the national political battle:

"I believe they are wrong when they selfishly play on people's fears about the future or selfishly exploit the immigration issue."

The Senate's bill regarding immigration didn't include the provision that would kick undocumented children out of school because of a strong split among Republicans.

The House should do the same.

Clearly, it's not a partisan issue. It's about what's best for this country.

Stand where you will on the topic of immigration. Some people don't want any illegal immigrants anywhere in the country and others don't care as long as they obey the laws, pay taxes and work (often in jobs that pay so little an American work force wouldn't touch them).

Children, who have no control of their parents' actions, should not be made to pay for others' decisions.

Politicians who want to crack down on illegal immigration should do so. Deporting people who enter this country illegally is part of the law.

But holding children responsible for their parents' actions and punishing them accomplishes nothing positive. In the process, we would punish ourselves.

Children who are not in school do not vaporize. But society, in pushing them out of the school system, would give up the right to have any control over where they do go or how they spend their time.

Besides that, education is more than important, it's crucial to the future not only of this country but of the entire world. And if America temporarily provides some knowledge, some standards, some basic tools of survival to these children, they can take them with them wherever they go.

We're becoming a global world. With the Internet, telecommunications and international business ties, the United States is not isolated and can no longer pretend to operate completely on its own. We're interdependent and there's no reason to think that will change. The Monroe Doctrine no longer works.

We need to decide, as a country, how to accomplish our goals. If one of those goals is seeing that no one is here illegally, so be it. But until we accomplish that goal, we need to see that the children who are here learn everything they can. We need to build foundations on which they can stand and plan for the future. In doing that, it shouldn't matter where a child was born.