States Move on Tuition Equity for Undocumented Students

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Despite tough economic times and a hostile political environment, immigrant rights activists are forging ahead, and having success, pushing a pro-immigrant youth agenda at the state level. And while many other pro-immigrant state policies fall to the wayside, state bills granting tuition equity to undocumented college students have yet to be sidelined. In fact, in several key states, they’re on the move.

It may seem improbable, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric which has spewed forth during the GOP primaries, and the devastation wrought by laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Immigrants make for easy scapegoats when politicians want to unite their base on fear-based rhetoric.

Yet immigrant youth will testify in the Florida State Senate today in their ongoing, uphill battle to reverse the state’s ban on allowing undocumented students and the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants from accessing in-state tuition. Meanwhile in Colorado, a tuition equity bill which would allow undocumented immigrant youth raised in the state to pay the same tuition as their fellow Colorado residents faces a possible House vote on Friday after having cleared the Senate with ease.