We've been here before and the answer is still no. No in-state tuition rates and fees for students who are illegal immigrants in this country.

The Higher Education Committee will hold a hearing Dec. 11 on a proposed bill that would do just that.

The student would have to have attended a Massachusetts high school for at least three years and have received a diploma or its equivalent. The student must also agree to apply for citizenship in the future.

Those arguing for the bill say that many of these students were brought to this country illegally as babies, and that they should not be punished for something that was out of their control.

But if that's the case, they have had many years to seek citizenship and legal status.

Opponents to the bill point out that a person who is breaking the law by being in the country illegally should not be further rewarded for doing so. They also point out that legal out-of-state students, and even veterans, are required to pay out-of-state tuition.

Too much of what taxpayers work for is given away.

The benefits of being an American citizen must be earned: Citizen first, then benefits.