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Committee kills bill that would give illegal immigrants' kids in-state tuition

bill that would have given in-state tuition to students who live in Florida for two years -- regardless of their parents' residency -- died in the Senate's higher education committee. One point of the bill was to help children of illegal immigrants, who currently have to pay out-of-state tuition, afford college. That out-of-state cost is three to four times as much.

"The intent of this bill, in the end, is to try to rectify a wrong," said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, who sponsored the bill. "I just want to make sure the students have the same privileges that I did, or that you had... Regardless of their parents' status."

But some senators had concerns that the bill would open up a loophole for students with parents in other U.S. states who could otherwise afford the out-of-state tuition costs. And in the end, it failed.

"The bill that was presented here, it has a lot of emotional draw to it," Sen. Steve Oelrich R-Gainesville, committee chair, said after the meeting. "The idea was that we're quote-unquote punishing the students. They didn't ask to be born here. But on the same token, the other part that bothers me is, why would we give favor to children of illegal aliens over children of legal out-of-state, longtime American citizens? That just wasn't right."

-- Kim Wilmath