After more than a decade of failed attempts, the Florida Legislature approved in-state tuition for DREAMers -- college students who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
The legislation passed through both chambers by wide margins in the final week of the legislative session, during an election year when Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic rival Charlie Crist are battling for the Hispanic vote, which represents about 14 percent of the state’s electorate. Both candidates and their political parties have accused their opponent of not siding with Hispanics in the past and pandering now that they want votes.
Scott campaigned in 2010 in favor of an Arizona-style immigration law and in 2013 vetoed a bill to give DREAMers driver’s licenses. (The term "DREAMers" comes from the DREAM Act, federal legislation that would give such young people legal status.) But this year he appointed Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former Miami-Dade legislator of Cuban descent, as his running mate and is courting Hispanics.
As the Republican-led Legislature appeared poised to pass the bill in April, the Republican Party of Florida attacked Crist for opposing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in 2006. As a Republican candidate for governor at the time, Crist did oppose the tuition break, though he supports it now. We rated the party’s claim True.
But Crist isn’t the only candidate in the governor’s race to change his mind about DREAMers tuition. On the morning of the final day of the legislative session, the Florida Democratic Party accusedScott of flip-flopping on DREAMers tuition. Their weapon: an interview Scott gave in 2011 to a conservative news program.
We decided to put the topic of in-state tuition for DREAMers on PolitiFact’s Flip-O-Meter. The Flip-O-Meter doesn’t pass judgment on whether a politician flipped; we simply measure whether he did flip and to what extent. Read our findings here.