So, I am going to do something I have never done here before: I am going to criticize the State of Alaska. In fact, I am going to sue the State. I might not win. I am not a civil lawyer (although I know a few). I don't have the resources of the State. But the State will probably spend more defending the suit than just doing the right thing. Here's the deal. In Alaska, each eligible resident gets a Permanent Fund Dividend (or "PFD"). People can be excluded from receiving this check (which ranges roughly between $1000 and $2000 per year) for a variety of reasons, such as being in jail or not really living here. However, the basic critieria are 1. be a citizen or permanent resident and 2. a resident of Alaska. One of the groups of people who don't get this money are people who are here on the types of visas that J and I are here on. Fair enough. I had no intention of applying for the money because I was aware of this. But, in anticipation of being "residents" in about 4 weeks, I began to research the PFD for Kadee. I went to a cost of college calculator a while back and by 2024, it will cost Kadee $236,000 for a 4 year degree at a public school. It was my intention to get the PFD and put it into Kadee's 529 account so she would have something for college at least. By the way I need to write about how the people of this country can no longer afford 3 "basics": housing, medical care and college, but that is for another post. Here is what I learned. The State will not give Kadee a PFD based on our citizenship. Yes that is right. Kadee is a US citizen and I have her passport to prove it. She has lived here almost a year, and so is a resident. But, because we are not citizens or "permanent residents", Kadee is excluded until she is 18. No F'ing way. So I researched the issue. In 1982 the State of Alaska tried to vary the amount of the PFD based on length of residency. The Alaska Supreme Court allowed that. The United States Supreme Court, however, thought otherwise. The US Supremes ruled that Alaska was trying to create two classes of citizens and this was "clearly impermissible". Later, in a case called Andrade v. State, the Alaska Supreme Court purported to rule on this very issue. But I have read and reread Andrade and I can't see where they ever ruled on the issue of US citizen children of foreign nationals. I was told by the lawyer that argued Andrade that I "would never win". You can imagine how that sat with me. I have ran this scenario by dozens of people and no one has been able to justify the State's actions. I look forward to your comments (I'm sure someone will make a stupid remark). How can the State deny a benefit to a resident and a US citizen based on the citizenship of her parents? The only rationale told to me was that Kadee can't "intend" to stay here because we can't "intend" to stay here. Um. Here's the difference. Under federal law, we are required to follow certain rules to stay in the US. Kadee is a citizen. She needs to "intent" to stay. She can never be deported. Our "intent" (for purposes of immigration law) is irrelevant to a citizen. The US Supreme Court has ruled that when a citizen moves to State, he or she is "one of the State's own" for the purpose of benefits. Kadee is one of Alaska's own. Instead of giving her money for college, the State wants to deny her. Well roll up your sleeves boys because we are going into the trenches. I''ll take this as far as I can. If necessary, and if I can, I'll take this to the United States Supreme Court. That may sound hollow, but mark my words. I would die to save my little girl. So to litigate so she can go to college will be like water off a duck's back. SHE IS A CITIZEN! I am boiling about this. Because we are foreigners, the State can treat her differently? We'll see. I'll let the judge look into those blue eyes and say she is a second class citizen.
P.S. How do you like that freezer? I went over to a friend's house the other night to fish. She owns a place right on the Kenai with a bunch of other people. That freezer holds just the Red salmon caught by all those people in the last few weeks. Beautiful.
P.P.S. The boat is ready and I would test it tomorrow but it is the last day of King salmon season. So I'll report Wednesday.

Comments

FishTaxi said…
Kadee, being born in the USa, should have every right that any other Alaska resident has.

When the Zobels, a husband and wife lawyer team took Alaska to court and won was on these same principles.

What a fine freezer!
Anonymous said…
This is an answer I received from PFD staff last week regarding an idiot brother-in-law that forgot to file for his entire family.. Minors do got rights just not until they are 18. The State knows there are issues about protecting a minors interest. How big of a Class Action is your group of rejected U.S. Citizen Minors?

"If an adult forgets to file for a child then the only recourse by law is that the child can back file for any dividends they didn't receive as a minor when they turn 18 years of age and before they turn 19. I would recommend that your brother-in-law file late applications for himself and the kids now even though they will be denied as being late since when the kids turn 18 the process will be easier for them since there will be some history on record of what happened. Simply have your brother-in-law contact us and we can send him late applications for himself and any children."



Mr. Skyler Lashley

Supervisor

Juneau Dividend Information Office
It is not me forgetting to file for Kadee of course. And Kadee will NEVER get those back PFD's, not even when she turns 18. Because we are not eligible, she is not eligible. Hi ho, hi ho, it is off the Court we go. A class action you say?
Anonymous said…
Crazy it up ugly!
Josh said…
Well, your child IS eligible for the PFD... however only insofar as she has a resident "sponsor" who is eligible and can apply for such. The only sponsor a child can have is said child's legal guardian--whether permanent or temporary. Since you, as your child's sponsor, are not eligible... neither is she.

The attorney you spoke with regarding your cited case is correct... you cannot win. The PFDD is correct in denying your application for the dividend on the grounds that only an eligible resident may apply for and collect a dividend for a minor.

Since you're not eligible, there is no one to collect this dividend on behalf of your daughter. The code seems pretty clear.

Minors, of course, do not have the full rights of legal adult citizens. They are extended such rights by adult legal guardians until they are of age. Such is the situation when an adult must apply for a dividend and receive such on a minor's behalf.

Since you, are as what amounts to being a "second class citizen" as you put it, you do not have the ability to extend these rights to your child at this time.

Until you do indeed become a naturalized citizen, your daughter as a minor will not enjoy the full rights of being a citizen herself.

I agree with you that this circumstance is unfortunate and I am sorry. But, I wouldn't waste your time with this.
Josh said…
Also...too bad you couldn't have transfered guardianship of your daughter to a legal resident temporarily simply to have said resident collect the dividend on behalf of your daughter.

Lol.. that would've been one way to circumvent the issue.
Josh I don't disagree with your analysis of the current state of the law. You clearly know the law on this issue but I disagree that children have no rights of their own. I will "waste" my time with this because it matters to me. I think most people's gut reaction is that this is wrong. Maybe I can change the law. Maybe not. But Kadee deserves whatever I can do for her. Thanks for your comments though.
Josh said…
Hey... by "waste of time" I wasn't intending to give the impression that going forward to do something on behalf of your daughter is wrong, negative, stupid...etc. I think it's actually pretty honorable. I honestly wish you luck and hope you reach an outcome that at least gives the issue some momentum for change.

Have you thought of working with your local state representative to sponsor a bill to re-work state code that corrects the issue instead of suing? It might be worth a shot if you can get your rep, or any rep for that matter, to listen and take you seriously... Find a state law maker who has the largest constituency of Canadian citizens awaiting U.S. citizenship like yourself and you might have a ball game. Sell the idea as something that can help the rep from a PR standpoint and you're in.

I enjoy your blog, keep at it.

Josh
Anonymous said…
Hey fruitcake, go buy a razor and a toothbrush!
Even if you are a Lawyer, you are still a dirt bag.
Anonymous said…
I am commented only because I was born and raised in alaska. My parents moved here from New York nearly 30 years ago. I have only ever known Alaska as home.
I realize your situation is frustrating, but there are laws in place for a reason. People complain the dividends get smaller and smaller each year, thats because so many people are becomming eligible for them. Now I personally don't care, it's nice to get the money for living here but it's not the reason I chose to live continue living here after turning 18 or chose to have and raise my own children here.
This goes back to a very basic problem the government is having. People are moving to the U.S. and expect that they should be treated the exact same as we are as soon as they get here. When really I don't see it being that outstanding of a country to live. Look at how people are being treated still after hurricane Katrina, look at how people are being treated after 9/11. Do you think those people are being treated great? Would you like to be a U.S. citizen to be ignored by your country or told "To bad, we weren't paying for you to help us so now we wont help you to get better."
But back to my point. Things are going downhill in the U.S. mainly because we have aliens, illegal or not, that think because they have been here for x years they instantly deserve part of social security, part of the Alaska State dividends, part of WIC, part of DKC, parts of thousands of systems that are in place to help lower income familys or just the U.S. as a whole.
Realize that yes you moved here, but you aren't a legal citizen and in the eyes of the law niether is your daughter. You wont win your case, don't waste you time.
It may be frustrating and it may making you spitting mad, but I know if I moved the Canada I wouldn't be eligible for a lot of their medical programs and other systems to help their citizens. I don't know why you expect to be treated differently here.
charley said…
Why not just become US citizens so that your daughter can get the same benefits as you would then. It is a long process to have it done but it sounds like you were going to be here for a while anyway if you were considering your daughter going to college in the US.
me said…
i only have one thing to say if you dont like the way things are run in your country go the hell back to where you come from
i am so tired of paying taxes
to people who do not belong here
and are looking for nothing more then a handout
i cant go to college because i cant get grants or loans
but be from another country and you @@@@@@@ get everything
i dont get it
lets give to everyone else but not our own
people in prison and people from other countries have more rights to money then true americans
when in the heck did that all happen

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