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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Immigrant tuition bill stays alive

House committee again to consider repealing reduced fees

February 26, 2006

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— Supporters of a law allowing some undocumented immigrants to pay resident tuition rates at public colleges are angry over a move by House Speaker Doug Mays to have a re-vote on legislation to repeal the law.

"This is not a debate we should be having," said Melinda Lewis, director of policy, advocacy and research for the Kansas City, Kan.-based El Centro.

The law was approved by the Legislature in 2004, and a bill to repeal it failed last week on an 11-11 vote in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.

But Mays, R-Topeka, asked Committee Chairman John Edmonds, R-Great Bend, to have another vote on the measure. Edmonds said he agreed to it as a courtesy to the speaker. The second vote will be Wednesday when lawmakers return to session.

"I didn't feel like it was very well resolved in committee," Mays said.

Lewis said Mays and Rep. Becky Hutchins, R-Holton, who filed the repealing legislation, were trying to rig the process to get the repeal approved.

"I spend a lot of time working with kids to help them understand the legislative process. How do you explain when the speaker and one representative seem to have a personal vendetta?" Lewis said.

Lewis said at least one of the opponents of Hutchins' repeal law had a previously scheduled appointment and would not be able to make the Wednesday meeting.

Edmonds voted against the repeal legislation, though he said he did not support the tuition discount. He said he opposed the repeal because it would force the House to vote on a controversial measure that probably would not be approved.

Kansas is one of nine states that grants in-state tuition to noncitizen students. Current law lets some undocumented immigrants qualify for in-state tuition if they attended a Kansas high school at least three years and graduated or earned a General Educational Development certificate in Kansas.

Last fall, 221 students enrolled under the law, most of them at community colleges, according to the Kansas Board of Regents.

A full-time undergraduate from Kansas pays $2,412 per semester at Kansas University, compared with $6,638 for out-of-state residents.

Comments

willie_wildcat 8 years, 9 months ago

Why should they get in state tuition when they are here in this country illegally in the first place?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

They're here because their parents are here, working and paying taxes to the state.

Should the parents be given refunds on those taxes if their kids can't get resident fee rates, even though they have obviously been residents?

Jay_Z 8 years, 9 months ago

"Undocumented immigrants". More like ILLEGAL immigrants.

Jay_Z 8 years, 9 months ago

They shouldn't get in state tuition. Makes no sense that a law abiding U.S. citizen would have to pay out of state tuition while someone who is here illegally would get in state tuition. Gotta love it....reward illegal behavior!

Bozo, what if the parents don't pay taxes? I would guess a lot of these illegals get paid "under the table" because the employer tries to avoid getting caught using illegal labor.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

Even if they are paid cash, they still pay sales taxes on every purchase they make, property taxes, through their rent, and unless the employers are concealing their income made on those people's labor, they are paying the income taxes that the employees would otherwise pay. Most likely very few state taxes are completely avoided.

These kids are likely to stay in the state regardless of whether they are allowed to enroll-- it's better that they are well-educated and productive members of society. Giving them access to the education their families pay for as much as any other Kansas residents allows them to contribute to the "growth" that is the mantra of all chambers of commerce throughout the state.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

I have to second Bozo on this one.

Being present within the U.S. without valid paperwork is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Policing immigrant status is the responsibility of the feds - used to the the INS, which is now rolled up into Homeland Security. Anytime they're ready, let them get started! Kansas doesn't have a dog in that fight.

Outraged that non-Kansans can't get 'in-state' tuition? Fine, get rid of 'in-state'tuition. Kansas should be recruiting students to come here (that's a real economic development plan). Short of that, no, I'd rather have the non-U.S. citizen but Kansas resident getting support from our state than the U.S. citizen who is not a Kansas resident - subsidize some Missouri brats? no way.

These migrants aren't forcing themselves upon us. They are here because KANSANS want them to be here. I'm sure they'd move on to other states if Kansas ceased to use their labor. Don't like the taint of illegality? Fine. Make them legal so you can get over it and move on to more important topics.

warthog 8 years, 9 months ago

I-L-L-E-G-A-L

It's not hard to spell and the concept isn't that difficult. If it's illegal, it's not legal. As in, unlawful. You many draw a line between a misdemeanor and a felony if you like, but wrong is wrong. People know the difference between right and wrong and they make a choice. All of the rationalization in the world will not change that. If they want to work here, let them use legal means of entry.

compmd 8 years, 9 months ago

As far as the tax paying side of this goes, no, illegal aliens are likely not paying any taxes except sales tax (and maybe property tax if they somehow bought a house) at the store. How can they pay taxes otherwise without a social security number? That would get them nabbed pretty quickly. But there are plenty of illegals that work for contractors for cash, and the contractors have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Additionally, every renter I've seen in Kansas requires potential tenants to list their SSN on the application, usually for a credit check. So how are these folks living? At another level, a verifiable SSN is required for a drivers license and car insurance. How much do you want to get hit by someone with no license or insurance, who might try to flee if they know the police are coming? Its time to stop catering to people who are NOT supposed to be here. What many fail to realize is the act of existing as an illegal immigrant and trying to live here breaks far more laws than simply not having entered properly. Illegals create a liability to their families (what happens if daddy is deported?), citizens (our tax dollars funding them), and legal immigrants (who can get a bad rap). I thought after 9/11 we were supposed to get tough on illegal immigrants! Why are we then playing pattycake with these illegal aliens that have been here for YEARS? Why is it that Kansan lawmakers seem to be ok with this?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

If I hire someone, pay them cash and therefore can't declare that as an expense of my business, then I'll eventually have to pay income taxes on that myself. Thus, the tax isn't really avoided, just paid by the employer instead of the employee.

But if the employer is doing some tricky bookkeeping to avoid state income taxes, it's likely that it's the employer who gains any financial advantage from that, not the employee.

Jay_Z 8 years, 9 months ago

Well said compmd....for whatever reason a lot of people like to ignore the good points you brought up concerning illegal immigration.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

It's one thing to advocate removing illegal immigrants because you don't want them here-- it's another thing to make up bogus reasons for their removal.

If you don't like em, you don't like em. Just be honest about it.

willie_wildcat 8 years, 9 months ago

I think someone is missing the point on the whole illegal immigration issue. They are here illegally. Do we need to spell that out to you bozo?

willie_wildcat 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey observer I am in no way shape or form prejudice towards anybody. I do not care what country people come from if they come through the legal channels that is fine but if not then I see it as being a problem. How would you feel if you were a student from out of state going to college here in Kansas and seeing that well if you are here illegal then you can get in state tution. That does not sound fair to me. Does it sound fair to you?

Bubarubu 8 years, 9 months ago

willie--Do we need to spell out to you that the reason they're here is because your fellow citizens are willing to hire them? Aust and bozo have it exactly right here, you want them out then call for stepped up enforcement. I fwe deny an education to the children of illegal immigrants then we do nothing to decrease the number of illegals AND we guarantee that they remain a permanently impoverished class. But, hey, they crossed a border, so they deserve what they get, right? I mean, trying to provide for a family or find economic opportunities, that should be punished severely. Get your priorities straight.

willie_wildcat 8 years, 9 months ago

Well then what do all of you suggest that we as a country should do to address this? I am all ears to hear what all of you think is a good way to tackle this issue. I also think that compmd had some good points on his post.

Bubarubu 8 years, 9 months ago

One option would be to follow President Bush's relatively progressive idea to stop criminalizing the search for economic opportunities with a guest worker program. The current immigration law greatly restricts immigration based on skill sets. Given than most illegal immigrants come here to perform unskilled labor, immigration law doesn't provide a means for them or us to use that labor. I don't necessarily agree with all of President's proposed specifics, but it's a good step forward and a good place to start from.

As for compmd's post, he makes a whole lot of assumptions, but his objections could be answered through a guest worker program. Of course undocumented workers don't pay income tax. A guest worker program would provide a way to collect appropriate payroll taxes from their labor. Again with identity/credit checks and deportment fears, etc. Don't ever forget that the reason people are here is because they can find work. Criminalizing the search for employment and the hiring of willing employees doesn't get rid of illegal labor, it just means exploitation, fear, and crime become the necessary handmaidens of feeding a family. Your family, actually, given the number of illegal immigrants who work in agriculture.

willie_wildcat 8 years, 9 months ago

Ok then....thanks for responding to my last post Bubarubu. And yes while I do not agree with all of Bush's specifics on his plan with some tweaking it could work and maybe make both sides happy. And with that I will retire for the night. For all who went back and forth with me if I offended anyone I am sorry but I was only speaking what was on my mind this evening. Have a good night to all and until next discussion.

ForThePeople 8 years, 9 months ago

With the state of the education system in Kansas (ie-evolution), it's a wonder that anyone would want to obtain an eduction here at all.

Good points Bubarubu, it's sad that we even have to discuss this topic at all:(

Susan Mangan 8 years, 9 months ago

The problem here is with our entire immigration system. I don't believe people here illegally should be given the benefit of reduced rates compared to, say, a Nebraskan, here legally. On the other hand, considering how the INS handles honest and legal immigrants, it's no wonder to me that some people lie.

Did anyone hear about the family in Lee's Summit last week? The woman is from Mexico, but came to the U.S. at 9, with her family, and has been here LEGALLY ever since. She is now married, with a 2 year old, who are both U.S. citizens. When she started the PERMANENT resident application process 2 years ago some customs agent claimed that, 6 years prior, she lied about being a citizen and they've decided to deport her. There isn't a shred of evidence that she lied...it's his word from 8 years ago now...and she had no reason to lie...she is here legally. So now the INS is going to deport a grown woman, living responsibly, paying taxes, raising her American child, and basically acting exactly like the type of immigrant who SHOULD be welcomed, and they agreed to deport her. It's like they just want to make an example out of some hard-working honest person.

At the same time, in Philadelphia, on Valentine's Day, a group of ILLEGAL immigrants working in hotels and restaurants decided to strike (since those businesses boom on Valentine's Day) demanding better wages. No action was taken, whatsoever, by the INS, because the illegal immigrants hold a lot of political power in Philly.

It isn't as cut-and-dried as I used to believe it was. In my humble opinion, if you are willing to work hard and contribute to our society you should be welcome. And screwing over a woman who is as American as most of us, minus the permanent resident status, because some customs worker had a bad day is a disgrace. Why wouldn't you be inclined to hide and lie when honesty is rewarded with punishment?

nonimbyks 8 years, 9 months ago

Give em a one way ticket to Mexico is what should be done. FLANGE you said it best, "I DON'T CARE" and this is the problem with society. Let it all fall apart, don't obey the rules, and let anarchy rule. Pack up now and move to Afghanistan or some other third world country to see how far you can get.

Edie1 8 years, 9 months ago

A lot of these children, who are citizens of another country I might add, can get a free college education in their own country Why should American state payers have to subsidize a college education that they can get for free in their own country? Like Mexico for instance!

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