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  1. #1
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    Texas lawmaker challenges in-state tuition law

    Texas lawmaker challenges in-state tuition law
    By SUSAN CARROLL Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
    Oct. 30, 2008, 11:13PMShare Print Email state lawmaker has requested an attorney general's opinion on the constitutionality of a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates in light of a recent California court ruling.

    State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, formally requested the opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Sept. 18 — three days after a California appellate court allowed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California's in-state tuition law to move forward.

    "We are not giving in-state tuition to everybody in Texas ... so we're in direct violation of U.S. law," Berman said. "We have a lot of students from around the world going to school here in Texas on student visas who are here legally. They either pay out-of-state tuition or international tuition, while if you're here illegally, you pay in-state tuition. We're rewarding people who are violating our laws, and we're penalizing people who are here legally."

    Legal experts said the Texas opinion request is premature. Supporters of the state law, passed in 2001, said Berman is playing politics with a case that may never affect Texas.

    The California lawsuit was filed in 2005 by a group of out-of-state parents and students who alleged they were being charged higher tuition and fees than illegal immigrants. A lower court dismissed the lawsuit, but an appeals court in Sacramento ruled Sept. 15 that the case could move forward. The state's Supreme Court will now decide whether to hear the case.


    Professors respond
    Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor who specializes in higher education and immigration law, filed a letter on Thursday with Abbott's office in response to Berman's request. The letter, signed by Olivas and six immigration lawyers and law professors, said the case is still being litigated in California and any opinion would be premature.

    The letter also argued that the Texas statute is constitutional under state and federal law.

    "I think Representative Berman is simply making mischief," Olivas said. "Texas would never be bound by anything a state court in California did. They're different statutes. They're different states. They have different residency statutes. And in our system, one state is not bound by what another state does in the state court system."

    In Texas, students qualify for in-state tuition if they graduate from a Texas public school and have been in the state at least three years.

    State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said the law has helped students who otherwise would have no opportunity for higher education.

    "Why would we deny a child who has been in Texas schools the ability to go to college at Texas rates?" she said.

    "We have spent lots of money educating these students, telling them to graduate, to go to college, to be successful, to be good citizens and pay taxes," Van de Putte said. "I want to make sure they become productive citizens in due time."

    The cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is significant. For the University of Houston, in-state tuition for a full-time student is $6,084, while out-of-state students pay $12,756, said Richard Bonnin, a University of Houston spokesman.


    $1,000 vs. $2,334
    Houston Community College students who live within the district pay slightly more than $1,000 for 18 credit hours, compared with $2,334 for out-of-state students.

    "If I had to pay out-of-state (tuition), I would be able to take one class," said Pedro, a 23-year-old undocumented nursing student at HCC who requested that his last name not be published.

    The Salvadoran immigrant, who graduated from Houston's Elsik High School, now works two jobs — one in a restaurant and another as a valet to pay his tuition and books.

    Berman said Abbott's office has until March 17 to issue an opinion.

    "We are a nation of laws," Berman said. "And it's our job to comply with all of our laws and not overlook whatever we decide we're going to overlook."

    susan.carroll@chron.com
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hea ... 87279.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member vmonkey56's Avatar
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    What about AMERICANS's and tax dollars?
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    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Here is the hitch in Texas, the current governor, Rick Perry is the one that signed this into law. Governers don't like to undo things they sign into law. It's admitting they were wrong.

    I don't care about how much it will cost illegal aliens to attend school. I paid my way through college.

    I want to know where that illegal alien, they are calling an immigrant is working.

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    Senior Member grandmasmad's Avatar
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    They graduate from College....They STILL cannot legally work here....so....point being?????
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  5. #5
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    Be sure to send Mr. Berman an e-mail letting him know that he has support. I did yesterday. http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist6/berman.htm

    I also sent an e-mail to Mr. Abbott to let him know that us Texans WILL NOT stand for any sort of benefits to illegals.
    http://www.oag.state.tx.us/agency/contacts.shtml
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  6. #6
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    Legislator challenges in-state tuition for illegal aliens
    'We reward people violating our laws, and we penalize people here legally'

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posted: November 01, 2008
    12:25 am Eastern

    © 2008 WorldNetDaily


    A state lawmaker is asking his state to reconsider the constitutionality of allowing illegal immigrants to pay reduced, in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

    Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, a Republican running for his sixth term in this fall's election, requested the state attorney general's opinion on the issue after a Sept. 16 California Court of Appeals decision in which a three-judge panel unanimously ruled in-state tuition programs for illegal immigrants to be in violation of federal law and constitutional equal access rights.

    "If it's in violation in California, I would assume that we are also in violation here in Texas," Berman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm hoping to make people realize that we are a nation of laws. We have to obey our laws, and if we're in violation of federal laws, then we have to correct it."

    In 2001, Texas and California became the first of several states to grant illegal aliens – who have lived in the state for a specified number of years and have graduated from an in-state high school – reduced rate tuition at state colleges.

    The California Court of Appeals decision provides a fresh opportunity for Berman to address a statute he believes is inherently unfair.

    "We have a lot of students from around the world going to school here in Texas on student visas who are here legally," Berman told the Houston Chronicle. "They either pay out-of-state tuition or international tuition, while if you're here illegally, you pay in-state tuition.

    "We're rewarding people who are violating our laws, and we're penalizing people who are here legally," Berman said.

    "Furthermore," Berman told WND, "we have U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who return, are stationed in Ft. Hood or Ft. Bliss and they take night or even day classes – but because they are only stationed here, and are not residents, they pay out-of-state tuition.

    "So we have U.S. troops back from the combat zone paying out-of-state tuition, while we give in-state tuition to people violating our borders and committing a crime against the United States," Berman said. "That should stop."

    The difference in tuition can be significant. At the University of Houston, the Chronicle reports, in-state tuition is only $6,084, while out-of-state students pay $12,756 per year.


    State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who sponsored the Texas Senate version of the bill that granted in-state tuition to illegal aliens, told the Chronicle the law helps Texas students, regardless of immigration status, move toward becoming good citizens.

    "Why would we deny a child who has been in Texas schools the ability to go to college at Texas rates?" she said.

    "We have spent lots of money educating these students, telling them to graduate, to go to college, to be successful, to be good citizens and pay taxes," Van de Putte said. "I want to make sure they become productive citizens in due time."

    In its Sept. 16 ruling, the California Court of Appeals agreed with a group of out-of-state parents suing California who argued that granting in-state tuition to people who are not citizens of California was a violation of federal law.

    The 1996 Immigration Act states that "an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State … for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit."

    The case is now being appealed to California's Supreme Court, a fact that led University of Houston law professor Michael Olivas to also file a request with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, asking him to wait on responding to Berman. Forming an opinion for Texas law based on the California Court of Appeals ruling, Olivas argues, would be premature.

    "I think Representative Berman is simply making mischief," Olivas told the Chronicle. "Texas would never be bound by anything a state court in California did. They're different statutes. They're different states. They have different residency statutes. And in our system, one state is not bound by what another state does in the state court system."

    Berman, however, explained that California's case only highlights judges who agree that laws like those in Texas violate federal law.

    "We are a nation of laws," Berman told the Chronicle. "And it's our job to comply with all of our laws and not overlook whatever we decide we're going to overlook."

    Berman told WND Attorney General Abbott's office has until March 17 to issue an opinion. If Abbott agrees that the Texas statute is in violation of federal and constitutional law, Berman said he will ask Texas education officials to cease the in-state tuition program for illegal aliens. If Abbott disagrees, however, Berman told WND he intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would end the practice.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=79629
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  7. #7
    MW
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    "Why would we deny a child who has been in Texas schools the ability to go to college at Texas rates?" she said.
    Duh..... maybe because they're illegal aliens. That was a no-brainer - it's beyond me how someone could ask such a ridiculous question. The U.S. Supreme Court has mandated that we educate all children K-12. However, no such mandate exist for illegals desiring higher education. As non-resident students (illegals can't be legal residents), they are required by federal law to pay out-of-state tuition rates. According to federal law, undocumented immigrants are ineligible for secondary education benefits unless a U.S. citizen is also eligible for the same benefit, regardless of the citizen's residency.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  8. #8
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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  9. #9
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    Same problem here

    We have the same situation with our daughter who attends college in Illinois (another state that favors illegal aliens with in-state tuition rates).
    We have tried every year to get resident status for her in Illinois, but
    they won't budge. We pay about 3 times as much tuition as a mexican citizen (for example) who only has to "affirm" that they intend to pursue
    citizenship and that they've attended public school in Illinois for 3 years.

    It's all well and good to quote federal law, but what good does it do us?
    We can't afford to pay an attorney to sue them.

    To tell you the truth, I think my daughter's skin is simply the wrong color...too white.

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