Illegal-immigrant tuition break fails again in Colorado House
A bill to help make college more affordable for illegal immigrants died this evening at hands of House Republicans, just two days after it had narrowly passed another committee with the help of a GOP lawmaker.
It was the sixth time a bill to lower tuition costs for illegal immigrants had failed in the legislature, even though this was as close as supporters had ever come to getting a bill passed.
By Tim Hoover
The Denver Post
Posted: 04/26/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
Senate Bill 15 had already passed the Democratic-controlled Senate earlier this session but needed to make it through the GOP-led House, where a similar bill died last year.
The first hurdle was to pass the House Education Committee, which spiked the issue last year. On Monday, Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, switched his vote from 2011 and supported the bill. It then went to the House Finance Committee this evening, where it died on a 6-7 party-line vote.
The bill would have created a new category of tuition for illegal immigrants higher than in-state tuition but lower than out-of-state tuition. It applied to students who attended a Colorado high school for at least three years and graduated.
Illegal immigrants now must pay out-of-state tuition rates, which are two to four times as much as in-state rates.
Under the bill, an illegal immigrant would pay $11,012 for 30 credit hours at the University of Colorado-Boulder, more than the in-state rate of $9,152 for the same number of hours. An out-of-state student, however, still would pay $30,330 in tuition.
Supporters like Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, a sponsor of the legislation, argued the bill would give kids hope.
"These children did not decide to be here. They were children," Duran said. "They had no choice in the matter."
But Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, reflected the arguments of many opponents, who said the bill rewarded law-breaking.
"If we lose the respect for the rule of law in this country, where are we going?" Conti asked.
Tim Hoover: 303-954-1626 or firstname.lastname@example.org