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Lawmakers seek in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants

Democratic state lawmakers are trying again to pass legislation that would extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, and state Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, have introduced a bill enabling undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Florida colleges and universities, but only if they attended a Florida high school for at least three years and graduated or received an equivalency diploma.

Torres called the proposal "an issue of economics, community and fairness."

"If we have a generation of educated, talented, and prosperous residents, our communities will benefit, our economy will be stronger and we will continue to see Florida reach its promise of being a leader on some of this nation’s most pressing issues," he said.

Said Bullard: "I'm hoping my colleagues can come to a reasonable understanding on what we can do to move forward. The repercussions on our students' ability to be competitive in the global marketplace with double or triple amounts of debt is simply too much to ignore."

Similar proposals have failed to gain traction.

Earlier this year, the Florida House passed a proposal extending in-state tuition rates to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. But the bill died because its Senate companion never received a floor vote.