Can We Deny Amnestied Illegal Aliens Affirmative Action?

Should illegal aliens and their descendants be eligible to receive racial preferences over other Americans under government affirmative action programs?

Black businessman Ward Connerly and other critics of racial preferences are taking out an ad on June 8 in the Washington Times calling on Congress to prevent that.

They want Congress to prevent illegal aliens who benefit from the amnesty contained in the Senate immigration deal from seeking racial preferences in the future.

Congress probably won’t even consider that. But it is surely a good idea. It would promote fairness and save taxpayers money, by reducing the number of people who can demand special preferences based on race.

Racial preferences cost a lot of money. For example, consider the rather mild affirmative action ordinance upheld by the California Supreme Court in the 1994 Domar Electric case. It nevertheless resulted in taxpayers paying $4 million for a contract that a non-affirmative-action contractor, the low bidder, would have been willing to perform for just $3.3 million — at a loss to taxpayers of nearly $700,000 for just one affirmative-action contract.

As I explain in a legal analysis posted as the bottom comment to a post at Greg Mankiw’s blog, barring illegal aliens and their descendants from receiving racial preferences would be constitutional under court precedent.