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Florida lawmakers, U.S.-born students make push for in-state tuition

Flanked by students from across the state, a group of Florida lawmakers endorsed legislation to allow the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition for college, if they went to high school in Florida.

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderdale Lakes, and Sen. René García, R-Hialeah, would change Florida's controversial policy of denying in-state tuition benefits to U.S. citizens who are children of illegal immigrants. 

“It is unfair and unjust to take away a student’s right to their education based on where their parents are from,” said. Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, a Haitian-American in support of House bill, HB 441. “This is America,” she said. “The United States of America. So, out-of-state tuition for students born in America needs to end immediately and now.” 

Several students from different parts of Florida joined the lawmakers, holding up signs with pictures of other students who have to pay out-of-state tuition even though they were born in Florida. 

Renato Lherisson, a Haitian-American from South Florida, said he was denied in-state tuition because of the legal status of his parents. 

“When my father passed away, I was 13 and I knew he would have wanted me to attend college,” he said. “I went to high school in Hollywood for two years, and when I tried to enroll in college they told me I would have to pay out-of-state tuition. I was born in Florida, I went to high school in Florida and I want to work in Florida.” 

Campbell said she would reach out to Miami Dade College about Lherisson's case. 

The issue has also reached the Republican presidential primary, where candidates currently campaigning in Florida have laid out their views on U.S. immigration policy. 

In a forum hosted by Univision, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants should be granted in-state tuition benefits. Both Gingrich and Mitt Romney said they were against giving tuition benefits to students who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

Neither the House bill nor the Senate bill, SB 1018, have been scheduled for any hearings.

Comments

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George Fuller

It is too much to suppose Florida Legislators would dare take the time to see under Federal Law if a state grants in state tuition to children of illegal aliens then they must offer it to all students in the country.

This in state tuition move is just another camel's nose poking under the tent.

I have been forced by the Feds and happily enforced by the state to pay to educate and medicate illegal alien kids K-12.

Enough is Enough.

Why are legislators OK with breaking Fed LAw about in-state tuition but rigidly enforce educating illegal alien kids to the cost of $3.45 Billion in 2010.

Finally.....I thought the legislature was trying to cut costs...not increase them.

ed

George you missed the point. The parents are illegal not the kids.
So why are us citizens( the kids) who have lived and went to school in this state be denied in state tuition?

whether or not they should be citizens is up to a constitutional amendment.

theloneconsumer

Here is the problem: unless these non-legal citizens (I'm being politically correct)are legal, they do not and can not be made to pay back their student loans.
Yes, do not think Rick Perry was pro-immigration because he allowed noon -legal hispanic residents to go to college. It allowed FEDERAL money to trickle into college couifers. It had nothing to do with then concern of the hispanic residents who lived in America but their parents who brought them did not do paperwork.
If they are NOT citizens, they dio not have to pay back the MONEY. Free nmarkets would also call that a negative externality.

Sando

wow, am I glad I'm studying math and isphycs, with computer science and nuclear engineering minors. Back in the Soviet Union, scientists enjoyed a much higher standard of living then did the average citizen. Although it looks like the system we're heading for is going to put even the Soviet Union to shame

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