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Archive for Monday, February 21, 2011

Kansas House advances repeal of in-state tuition for undocumented students

February 21, 2011, 8:41 a.m. Updated February 22, 2011, 12:46 a.m.

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State Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, speaks in the Kansas House on Monday in opposition to House Bill 2006, which would repeal the lower in-state tuition for some undocumented students. The measure was advanced toward a final vote on Tuesday.

State Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, speaks in the Kansas House on Monday in opposition to House Bill 2006, which would repeal the lower in-state tuition for some undocumented students. The measure was advanced toward a final vote on Tuesday.

State Reps. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, left, and Lois Ruiz, D-Kansas City, discuss a bill to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students who were brought here by their parents. Knox is a sponsor of the bill; Ruiz opposed it.

State Reps. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, left, and Lois Ruiz, D-Kansas City, discuss a bill to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students who were brought here by their parents. Knox is a sponsor of the bill; Ruiz opposed it.

— The House on Monday moved to repeal a 7-year-old law that allows students whose parents brought them to Kansas illegally to pay in-state college tuition.

The measure advanced 69-49 on a nonrecord vote. A final vote is expected today.

House members went over many of the same arguments that have been covered in recent years.

Opponents of the current law, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, say it is an incentive for illegal immigrants to come to Kansas. Supporters, which include education and religious representatives, say the law helps children who didn’t choose to come to the country illegally.

The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is significant. A first-time freshman who entered KU last fall paid $3,938 per semester for tuition if they were considered Kansas residents. A nonresident paid $10,340.

Under the current Kansas law, students are considered Kansas residents eligible for in-state tuition if they graduated from a Kansas high school or received a GED, have lived in the state for three years and pledge to become citizens.

The Kansas Board of Regents said 413 students enrolled under the law last fall at state universities, community colleges and technical colleges.

Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, defended the lower tuition for undocumented students, saying he sympathized with their plight.

Goico left Cuba at age 14 to avoid the regime of Fidel Castro and then spent several years in foster homes and orphanages.

“When you find yourself in these situations, you feel like baggage that nobody wants,” he said.

He then went to college, paying the higher out-of-state tuition — something he said was extremely difficult. After earning a degree, Goico joined the U.S. Air Force and retired after 32 years of service.

But Rep. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, said most Kansans want the law repealed.

“Your constituents want it,” she said.

Others argued that under federal law, Kansas had no right to grant resident status to people not here legally.

But Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said many of these young people know only Kansas as their home.

“They want to be educated. If we allow that, they will serve the state well,” she said.

Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, argued the law cost the state approximately $1 million per year, citing the difference between students paying in-state and out-of-state tuition.

But supporters of the law said that figure was based on a false assumption because most of the students wouldn’t be going to school at all unless they could pay the lower in-state tuition. The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees higher education, supports the law as is.

And Rep. Bob Bethell, R-Alden, said it made no sense to provide taxpayer-funded kindergarten through 12th grade education for undocumented students and then deny society the benefit of their higher education, which the students would be paying.

Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, said, “At its basis, the core of this bill is mean-spirited, and it’s not the Kansas way.” He said by repealing the law, “we are punishing the children for the sins of their fathers.”

Comments

jaketh 3 years, 2 months ago

STOP making immigrants or migrants scape goats. Either go get a job and do the dirty manual labor yourself. If you can't do it or don't want to do it, deal with it. There is no way you can deport 11 million people. Our economy will crash! You can't have your cake & eat it too. Don't be a hypocrite. They grow your food, cut your meat, cook your food, wash your dishes, baby sit your children, build your roads & homes, clean your house/hotel room, work your factories. We all enjoy the fruits of cheap migrant labor. If anyone here says otherwise, you are in self-denial. During economic duress, it is easy to make immigrants and/or migrants targets for our own insecurities. It was same anti-immigrant sentiments 100 years ago against the Irish & Italians. These migrants, at least they WORK. Stop complaining and whining. Roll up your sleeves and go work 2-3 jobs to support your family instead of waiting for hand outs. Blame yourselves for not working. There are plenty of jobs but will you do it or is it well below you?

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MrClean 3 years, 2 months ago

Why do we even debate this. A citizen pays out of state tuition, but we are debating to allow illegals to pay in state tuition if the "pledge" to become citizens. Come on, we can't even convince them to get state issued ID cards, drivers' licenses and proof of insurance. If they want to attend college here, citizenship comes first; then the benefits shall follow. We have become a nation corrupted by political correctness, living under fear of offending others. You know who will end up paying for this...! What happened to my America!!

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auddyup 3 years, 2 months ago

I feel sorry for these students....but if we want our country to do better, we need to refuse education at an elementary school level, maybe then parents won't stay here illegally and kids wont be displaced...unable to speak the language of their "home" country and unable to work after graduating in America. Low tuition in college doesn't get them a job as an illegal after.

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Ray Parker 3 years, 2 months ago

President Reagan was wrong about amnesty of any kind, it does not work. Keep illegal aliens out of our public schools and colleges. Build the dang fence.

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ksrush 3 years, 2 months ago

Ah the reverse discrimination mentality. Out of state legal residents get to pay more for education vs an illegal alien. Libs your logic wins this one. What do you guys take up there and how do I get some ?

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Shardwurm 3 years, 2 months ago

Since only the poor, the rich, and those minorities who can get scholarships can afford college now anyway...who really cares if a few illegals slip in there?

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Clara Westphal 3 years, 2 months ago

There is a federal law that states no non-citizen shall receive benefits that are not also given to a citizen of the United States. If illegal students qualify for in-state tuition then no out-of-state fees should be charged to anyone. Students from Missouri, Nebraska and any other state should not be charged the higher tuition.

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 2 months ago

If we can suddenly hold children responsible for their ancestor's actions, the Indians should be billionaires in a few short years.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 2 months ago

First of all, most of those affected by this bill were brought here as minors, therefore, they did not break the law as they had neither the choice nor the ability to make the decision, and now they are here, they went through the school system and the compassionate conservatives wish to send them back to a country they have never known and punish the children for the sins of the fathers.

And for many of them, this is part of their Christian values.

I think they mis-read the Bible.

Suffer the children was NOT a commandment.

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William Weissbeck 3 years, 2 months ago

Like I said before, 413 people is hardly a tidal wave swimming (walking) across the Arkansas River to get to Kansas. And besides, given the current state of affairs in Kansas, it needs all the college graduates it can get. How about linking this to Brownback's western Kansas resettlement plan. Give them the in-state tuition in exchange for their agreement to settle out on the plains.

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Alyosha 3 years, 2 months ago

Kansas needs Ronald Reagan's perspective: "I believe in the idea of amnesty...even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

A debate??? a DEBATE??? What part of "illegal" does not applly here?

More waste of time by elected officials, debating an issue already classified as "illegal?

Who elected these idiots??

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