In-State Tuition for DREAMers Results in Senate Split

By admin February 18, 2014 09:32


By: Genesis Monserrate

Granting in-state tuition to undocumented students has become a debate issue among government officials.

In the midst of bipartisan disagreement in the Senate, many states have moved on to pursue their goal of allowing immigrants to gain the same benefits as U.S. citizens and establish  a path to citizenship.

There are currently 16 states that have enacted a legislation approving undocumented students to pay in-state tuition including California, Texas, Utah, New York, New Jersey, Utah, Washington, amongst others. Arizona, one of the states with the largest number of illegal immigrants, bars undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition, along with Georgia and Indiana.

According to an estimate made by the Association of State Colleges and Universities, approximately 65,000 students are currently living illegally in the country. Due to the high number of immigrant students residing in the U.S., senators from both parties are in a fiery debate about what may result in the drastic change of education.

Kris Kobach, a Republican Secretary of State in Kansas, supports in-state tuition for immigrants saying that taxpayer dollars should be used to subsidize“the education of non- citizens who could also be deported.”  

In addition to Kobach, Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, stated that he is considering allowing undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition after seeing the dilemma between universities having to reject top students from the nation due to their immigration status.

Also Republican, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a bill that allows immigrants in the state to pay in-state tuition.

Following the enactment, Christie said, “the most important thing is for these young men and women of our state, who we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their K-12 education, we’re now going to give them an opportunity in an affordable way to be able to continue their education.”

Despite agreement among several states about the issue, critics remain who are pushing to disallow students from becoming eligible for in-state tuition. 

Republican Senator David Vitter of Los Angeles, who is the Chairman of the Senate Border Security Caucus, has introduced a bill that does not grant in-state tuition to immigrants- let alone financial aid.  Vitter said, “American students should always come first. Too many states are blatantly disregarding the spirit of existing immigration law, which could end up putting illegal immigrants ahead of American citizens.”

Along with Vitter and many other critics, two students from Texas A &M were invited on Fox News to express their concern in regards to the DREAM Act.

“What bothers me about this is that Texas taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the education of adults who cannot legally work in the United States,” one of the students said.

As anti-immigration groups express their concerns on the negative effects of immigration, the National Immigration Law Center said that allowing undocumented students to become eligible for in-state tuition will actually raise revenue for universities and increase the number of students striving for higher education. 



By admin February 18, 2014 09:32
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