Last Updated:July 29 @ 12:07 pm

More states grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens

By Associated Press

aliens_chainedWASHINGTON - Giancarlo Tello paid $14,000 more than other New Jersey high school graduates to attend Rutgers University, the state's flagship public college.

Why the difference?

Tello spent much of his childhood in the U.S. without legal permission after his parents moved from Peru when he was 6.

That changes if he re-enrolls this fall, as he plans, thanks to a law recently signed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that provides in-state tuition to immigrants like him.

Supporters of immigrants' rights are energized because after years of contentious fights, New Jersey and three other states passed statutes last year that will allow such students who came to the U.S. when they were minors to pay in-state tuition.

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Fifteen states now have such a statute, said Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, university boards in Hawaii, Michigan and Rhode Island have granted these students in-state tuition. To qualify, high school graduates typically must meet requirements such as living in a state for a set number of years.

Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia have bills under consideration that would extend the in-state benefit, said Tanya Broder, a senior attorney with the National Immigration Law Center.

Supporters next plan to step up lobbying on a related issue: making these students eligible for state financial aid, including scholarships or grants. Already, California, New Mexico and Texas have laws spelling out this right, and it is under consideration in states such as Washington.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., filed a bill in Congress that would provide money to states that offer in-state tuition or financial aid to these students.

"It's an economic issue, and it's an issue of fairness," Murray said.

In this time of financial austerity, the bill faces a difficult road.

The students are known as "Dreamers" - from the shorthand for legislation stymied in Congress that provides a way for them to permanently remain in the U.S. The measure's full title is the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).

Lacking legal immigration status, the students typically aren't eligible for federal financial aid and many other aid programs.

But in many cases they are able to remain in the United States under President Barack Obama's 2012 "deferred action" program. That allows immigrants brought into the United States without legal permission as children by their parents to obtain temporary resident status for two years. The status is renewable.

Tello and Yves Gomes, 21, who was brought to the U.S. from India as a toddler, signed up.

Gomes attends the University of Maryland and pays in-state tuition, which he had lobbied for. But he says in some cases that isn't enough. He called for state and other financial aid, especially for those who don't qualify for Maryland's in-state tuition benefit.

Tuition and fees for Maryland residents come to about $9,000 this academic year, compared with more than $28,000 for those from other states. That doesn't include thousands more in room and board.

"I met so many friends who are off and on in school just because they have to take time off to help their families put food on the table. You have to survive," Gomes said.

The issue of what educational benefits should be available to immigrants living illegally in the country has been contentious. Critics say helping the students encourages unlawful behavior and means they potentially take someone else's seat at taxpayers' expense.

"I don't understand why they would take taxpayer dollars that could be going to U.S. citizens and instead subsidizing the education of noncitizens who could also be deported," said Kris Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas who has litigated immigration-related cases. "Why would you subsidize a workforce that may not be there tomorrow?"

Kansas passed a law in 2004 that granted the in-state tuition benefit to students living in the country illegally.

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana bar the in-state benefit altogether, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. In Wisconsin, in-state tuition was authorized in 2009, but later repealed.

Politicians have taken heat on both sides.

In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended up apologizing after saying critics of in-state tuition for students in the country illegally "did not have a heart." In last year's gubernatorial race in Virginia, GOP Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was dogged during his unsuccessful campaign by a vote opposing the in-state tuition benefit earlier in his career.

Christie agreed to sign the New Jersey bill only after issuing a conditional veto that took out the financial aid component.

"It definitely felt great that now a lot of `dreamers' in New Jersey, including myself, will be able to return to school, but at the same time it feels like we were lied to by Gov. Christie, who when he was campaigning, said he was going to give full equality to the Latino community," Tello said.

He was campaign manager for the New Jersey Tuition Equity for Dreamers, and said he dropped out of college after attending part-time for three semesters because of the cost. Out-of-state tuition at Rutgers is about $24,700 compared with about $10,700 for an in-state student. Full-time students also pay nearly $3,000 in fees, in addition to room and board.

On the day he signed the bill, Christie explained his decision this way: "This is what compromise looks like." Christie said the important thing is that these students will now have an "affordable" way to continue their education.

About 65,000 students living illegally in the country graduate annually from high school and about 5 percent to 10 percent of them go to college, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities has estimated.

Daniel Hurley, an official with the association, said even when these students are able to get a college degree, their future work prospects are limited.

"They are caught in the limbo," Hurley said. "It's certainly frustrating to see."


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  1. Jota_Comment by Jota_
    February 3, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    “It’s an economic issue, and it’s an issue of fairness,’ Murray said.”

    How is it, in the mind of a liberal, unfair that only some should be able to pick and choose the laws they obey, but not for all?

    How would Murray feel if the people thought it optional whether they wanted to pay taxes to subsides tuition at state colleges?

    How does that issue play out for economic fairness?

    No! In her mind it is fair only for some, the some liberals can use to take power away from everyone else, but for everyone else they feel the iron boot of the state telling them they will obey.

    That for a liberal is their idea of “fairness” It is how they take away the people’s power.

    Obeying the law is how one gains admission into a group. To not obey is how to over throw the group. To take their money to pay for it, is what a conquered people do, pay tribute

    Liberals have no allegiance to the Constitution and work day and night to subvert it, so they can rule us all

    When they talk about fairness, it has nothing to do with making more people citizens but making all citizens subjects

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    • gopluvaComment by gopluva
      February 3, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

      How can this be called fair. Certainly not fair to the neighboring states that need to pay out of state tuition.These darn illegals are lucky they can even go to school but we are keeping eligible Americans out by doing this, Again I ask how is this fair.????

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  2. skopiiComment by skopii
    February 3, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    Doesn’t this violate the “Equal Under the Law” provision? Wouldn’t it be UNCONSTITUTIONAL? Shouldn’t we: “Vote Incumbents OUT!” Thank You.

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    • paoldguyComment by paoldguy
      February 3, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

      shouldn’t all state residents be treated =. If 2 people are residing in NJ for the same amount of time shouldn’t they pay in state rate. They have paid NJ state taxes The person who moves to NJ a short time before trying to go to a NJ state college has perhaps paid 0 in state taxes to NJ.

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  3. peletierComment by peletier
    February 3, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

    America has to concious that, in additon to the sons and daughters of Illegal Immigrants, it has a 12 Million migrant problem that needs solving… Wish everyone in Washington stop kicking the can, forward.

    Regardles if you agree with Illegal Migration Amenesty or not, actions has to be taken to put our arms around these problems, ASAP:

    a) Allow the sons and daughters of Illega Migrants to attend school and receive the benefits due to American students: the alternative is to have millions of teenagers, goofing of and becoming Gang members;

    b) Give Illegal Migrants “permits/work Visas – NOT Citizenships or Right to Vote, to make their stay in the U.S. Legal, and Manageble.

    c) Steps A & B can never happen if the Border is not “tightly sealed and under our total control”, otherwise, you are “inviting” a Tsunami of another 12 to 15 Milliion Illegals Migrants on top of the 12 Million we already have… and then what?

    Just stated are the key problems, as simplified as possible. Now we all need the Politicians in Washington DC, – Democrats and Republicans, by some Steel Balls, to do what needs to be doneand put a “permanent end” to this political Circus!


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    • AlwaysRIGHTComment by AlwaysRIGHT
      February 3, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

      You need to scroll down and read my solution – it’s way better than yours. Yours is like if a bunch of criminals broke into your house, instead of kicking them out, you’d provide them food, healthcare, books, tuition, and help them live there in your home AT YOUR COST. That’s stupid. And you wouldn’t do it if it happened in your home. But you’re asking us, as a country, to do it for these ILLEGALS. Also, you make the assumption that we can’t get rid of them – and/or that it would be too hard. It wouldn’t be hard at all. Or costly. Or timely. Read my solution. If it were implemented, we’d clear uot 20 million illegals by 4th of July. Simple as that.

      Oh, and as far as sealing border, paint a 1/4mile wide line in the sand called a kill zone. Go in it, and you’ll be shot and killed by armed guards, by unmanned drones, by our airforce, and by citizens who would be encouraged to use the border for target practice.

      Lastly, take all the garbage, and there’s tons of it, on our border, load it up and dump it on the front lawn of the Mexican govt headquarters…. with an invoice for cleaning it up, and a $10,000 invoice for every illegal for every year they’ve been here!

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    • chamuielComment by chamuiel
      February 3, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

      Make the illegal aliens stay in the U.S., and managable.

      doesn’t the Democrat party already do this for you illegals?

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    • Jota_Comment by Jota_
      February 3, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

      “Regardles if you agree with Illegal Migration Amenesty or not, actions has to be taken to put our arms around these problems, ASAP” Comment by peletier

      If you have a person who needs a blood transfusion, NOW, and it can only be done from another person’s arm, do you do the transfusion before or after you have stopped the bleeding?

      If you do it after, then you risk draining all the blood from the health person, too

      Stop the bleeding, then do the transfusion

      It begs the question why is closing the gate such a problem?

      It appears they have no intention of addressing the reason why there is an illegal alien problem, in the first place, and serves to guarantee it will be a never ending problem, which will need to be addressed over and over and over and over

      No one in their right mind would lend their arm to have their blood drained out of them without fixing the reason the other person needed the blood, first.

      The fact Washington has a hard time understanding this is a clue they know it will not be their blood.

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    • gopluvaComment by gopluva
      February 3, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

      They have been using 12 million illegals for 20 years. With tjhousands coming over for this long dont you think the number should have gone much higher by now? They are already allowed in school everywhere. But college is a whole other thing.Its a privalege to attend college and Americans should be given options before illegals.

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  4. jenerseaComment by jenersea
    February 3, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

    Simply amazing how these states screw honest,law abiding citizens of other states and make them pay out of state truition. Mean while illegal invasion span get a free ride and why? Because they have lived here for 15 to 20 years as illegals, the whole time doing absolutely nothing to make themselves legal. Why are illegal criminals made to look like the victims, time and again? And its always the same criminals from down south. Paco go home. Initiate Operation Wet Back and deal with this illegal invasion. Do not deal with illegal invasion by rewarding these criminals and awarding them tuition and amnesty.

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    • AlwaysRIGHTComment by AlwaysRIGHT
      February 3, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

      Hope you’ll read my post below. I agree with you 100%. Elect me, I’ll solve this problem in a month!

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  5. GHUComment by GHU
    February 3, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

    I’m sorry, but illegal immigrant children brought into the USA should not be given rewards for being here ILLEGALLY! It’s their parent’s fault. Come here legally, become a citizen and you can have the benefits of a US citizen.

    My husband and I were born in the USA of US citizens. We lived in the state of NY and when my son ( born in the USA) wanted to go to a college in PA we had to pay DOUBLE tuition. We had to take out a second mortgage to help our children go to college. So please don’t tell me about “fairness” and “dreamers” and other bull!

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    • paoldguyComment by paoldguy
      February 3, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

      Your son was not a PA paid NY state taxes.your son probably could have gone to a NY state school for cheaper tuition. I am a PA resident my so gets the instateratehere.doesntmatter if your so is a US citizen or not. Either way no PAtaxes are paid. Illegals pay taxes to their states sales, gas, and income

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    • gopluvaComment by gopluva
      February 3, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

      paoldguy. ok well and good. but I beg to differ on illegals paying income tax. If they pay income tax then they are not hiding in the shadows are they? and letting them have preference over American citizens is wrong no matter how you try to spin it.In any country of the world, ANY country the rules are their people come first, always. I have lived in Cyprus, Germany, Japan. And in every one of these their countryman is first then foreigners always. Try to get a job and see.Visit mexico and see how their laws affect foreigners.

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    • Jota_Comment by Jota_
      February 3, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

      “Illegals pay taxes to their states sales, gas, and income” paoldguy

      And you would know that how?

      Them being undocumented and such

      I know you don’t get it

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  6. jrb621Comment by jrb621
    February 3, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

    Why is this not unfair to US citizens who don’t have the option to go out-of-state at in-state tuition rates?
    For that matter, consider, why change the current immigration laws? They don’t enforce the laws we have, why would they enforce a new law? Answer, they won’t, and there is nothing we can do about it!

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    • Jota_Comment by Jota_
      February 3, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

      “They don’t enforce the laws we have, why would they enforce a new law?” jrb621

      Really think you made a very poignant observation

      If they don’t obey laws, who, exactly, are they hoping will obey them?


      This is about putting a noose around our necks. To force us

      They will try to sell this a million different ways, rather than expose what is causing it and enforce a law to stop it. Someone hiring them

      It is the main reason they will not secure the borders first, they have no intention of ever stopping it, but they need to get them documented so they can tell whose brand is on them

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  7. oldsargeComment by oldsarge
    February 3, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

    Who says crime doesn’t pay?

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  8. bowler1hatComment by bowler1hat
    February 3, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

    Its not murder, except in a few cases, but it is a crime. For years, illegal crossing the borders was only slowed, but under the Obama Administration, it is welcome, encouraged and rewarded over the needs of legal American citizens. “Under Obama, Crime PAYS!”

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  9. gopluvaComment by gopluva
    February 3, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

    Good point Oldsarge. BTW thank you for your service. Everyone who thinks this is wonderful is forgettinf that these people are breaking the law just being here. No one stops to think about the word illegal.It is not our fault that these people are illegal. There are laws in place to become legal.They are doing it this way because our pres. does not want to enforce the law because these people vote democrat for freebies.

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    • Jota_Comment by Jota_
      February 3, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

      “forgettinf that these people are breaking the law just being here” gopluva

      True, and what seems to go unnoticed, there is a system in place which allows it

      Get rid of that system, get rid of the problem, once and for all

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  10. BarbComment by usa4ever
    February 3, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

    I am so sick and tired of hearing the illegal invaders called immigrants. They are NOT immigrants. They are home invaders and should be treated as such. IMO if you’re in this country illegally you should have ZERO RIGHTS. If you want rights in this country get the hell back from whence you came and don’t come back until you do it legally! Then you’ll have rights and you might even be welcome.

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  11. Pingback: Proposed changes to the SAT show that the Left is gaming the system to bring egalitarianism to the inegalitarian world of high education

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