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Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Statehouse Live: Panel vote maintains law allowing in-state tuition for some undocumented students

March 16, 2011

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— A Senate committee Wednesday rejected a bill that would repeal a law allowing in-state tuition for some undocumented students.

The Federal and State Affairs panel voted against recommending the passage of House Bill 2006 after hearing emotional testimony from several people who were brought to the United States as children.

They later graduated from Kansas high schools and then attended state institutions of higher education.

Alaide Vilchis, a Kansas University graduate, was one of those. After the vote, she said she was happy the committee considered the testimony of those who benefited from the law.

"I'm glad that other undocumented students will have an opportunity to be a Jayhawk," she said.

Vilchis said opponents of the repeal bill will have to remain vigilant because the measure could re-emerge as an amendment to another bill at some point during the legislative session.

Under current Kansas law, students are considered Kansas residents eligible for the lower 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.

House Bill 2006 would repeal that law.

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.

The repeal bill was passed last month in the House.

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

Supporters of the current law say it provides an opportunity for students who aren’t citizens but whose parents brought them as children to Kansas. But the law’s opponents say it provides an incentive for illegal immigrants. There have been many attempts to repeal the law since it was first passed in 2004.

While the repeal bill is backed mostly by Republicans in the Legislature, Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has signaled he is not interested in repealing the current law.

Earlier Wednesday, Kansas students and graduates released a video in which they spoke in favor of the current law, saying it is just and fair.

"Access to education is a basic human right," Kansas University student Ben Gerrard said on the video.

The students have also gathered more than 250 signatures on an online petition to defeat HB 2006.

Comments

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

Those that support providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants just causes me to shake my head in wonderment. Why do we want to reward illegal activity?

Another question comes to mind - why are we allowing childen who are not here legally attend grade and high school? Stop the children from entering grade school and we won't need to consider whether we need to provide in-state tuition to them.

And how about this - if the parents are responsible for making the children participate in illegal activity lets treat them like any other parent who makes their kids participate in a crime. Severe the parentel rights and deport the parents.

akhmatova 3 years, 9 months ago

If you can't think of it in a way that regards compassion and humanity, think of it from a purely economic standpoint:

Is it cheaper to educate children, or leave them on the streets with nothing to do all day, likely turning to crime, and unable to be remotely productive citizens without a HS education? The tax dollars that go to education are minuscule compared to the alternative.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

No, it is better to deport them along with their parents. The parents are criminals and do not deserve to be here ahead of those trying to come here legally.

Don't leave them on the streets, send them back to their home countries. Why have borders? Why have immigration laws? Why have citizenship if we are not going to enforce it for everyone?

And how does educating illegal immigrants help them become productive citizens?--They are illegal and therefore will not be a citizen, but continue to be a criminal.

Send them home wherever home is or change the laws to let everyone come here no questions asked.

gudpoynt 3 years, 9 months ago

Suppose someone from another state kills somebody while driving drunk, serves 10 years in prison, gets out and comes to live in KS for a year.

They would be able to get in state tuition.

Do you feel that being the unwitting child of illegal immigrants a greater crime? Or do you think a crime is a crime is a crime?

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

Silly comparison - one has paid the penalty for their crime and meets the residency requirements therefore in state tuition is appropriate.

On the other hand, the other is still not in compliance with the law and therefore should not be given instate tuition or even allowed to attend the University until they rectify their immigration status.

gudpoynt 3 years, 9 months ago

perhaps that was a stretch.... but the point is, fred, that a crime is not a crime is not a crime -- hence the vigorous debate over immigration policy.

A stance of "deport, deport, deport" under any and all circumstances doesn't resonate very well with those who treat illegal immigrants more like normal people looking for a better life, and less like common criminals.

And the stance of "deport, deport, deport" isn't going to resonate very well in California (with their 54 seats in the House) where the population of Latino children has recently become a majority. Did you realize that? If current trends continue, in the next generation California will be a majority Latino within a generation.

madameX 3 years, 9 months ago

Americans from the other 49 states who want in-state Kansas tution can move to Kansas, live here for six months and establish residency. That's what I did. No tearful plea necessary.

These students are not children anymore, but their immigration status is a holdover from when they were children and had no control over it. And there currently isn't much of a path to citizenship for those who have been raised in this country but were brought in illegally.

tomatogrower 3 years, 9 months ago

Those students haven't been living and paying taxes in Kansas for 3 years. If they come here and do that, then ok, they can pay in state tuition. Get a clue.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

The kids are just a symptom of the true problem and I am open to dealing with those that are here already one way as long as we put a stop to allowing it to continue without end.

We need to close our borders and treat people who are here illegally, humanely, but as criminals. We need to also punish businesses that knowingly hire illegals and we need to punish them more harshly than the illegal immigrants they hire.

DWilly 3 years, 9 months ago

And we need to stop charging illegal immigrants sales tax, income tax and social security. Because we don't want to owe them anything when we kick them out.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

As a society, which would you rather have, a person that steals a million dollars or a million people who steal a dollar each. Obviously, stealing is wrong. The theft of a million dollars violates our values of fairness and greed. The theft of a dollar by a million individuals may be seen as a small concern in the wider concerns of the world. But theft is theft. The person who steals a million dollars should be put in jail, no doubt about it. But what is an appropriate consequence for the million who steal a dollar. All consequences are counter-productive because they will cost more money to implement. But the problem remains, we now have a million thieves with no guarantee that their theft will be limited to the dollar already taken. So in a sense, it's worse for society to have a million people stealing a dollar because the one person who stole a million can be removed from society where he will no longer be a threat.
The bankers on Wall Street who stole billions should be placed in jail. The illegal immigrant that steals our resources should not be allowed to avoid consequences because we have no guarantee that their thievery will be limited to the simple act of having come here illegally.

tomatogrower 3 years, 9 months ago

But are you willing to put the children of the guy who stole the million in jail too? After all, I'm sure they helped him spend some of that money. I'm sure he bought them a lot of stuff, and paid for their education. I guess they need to go to jail too, just like you want to punish the children who were brought to the US as young children and know nothing else but the US.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

It is not hard to figure out and if you have a minute or two I'll tell you how we need to fix the problem.

  1. Put into place a national guest worker program. Make it simple - perhaps we should have used some stimilus funds to have developed it. I realize that the federal government will not keep things simple, but here is how I would do it. A non-US citizen that wants to work in the US can enter the country under a guest worker visa(stamped in a passport) good for 30 days. Within those 30 days they must find employment and using a form supplied by their employer register with the US government. The US government will then authorize them to work in the US for 12 months provided that if they change address or employer they have to re-register. After 12 months they have to leave the country and start the process over again. Failure to comply with these simple laws will result in deportation and revocation of guest worker status for 3 years.

  2. Change the law so any child born here whose parents are not citizens is not a US citizen.

3.Provide a 12 month grace period for any illegal here to obtain the guest worker visa.

  1. After the grace period, start deporting those that are not here legally.

  2. After the grace period issue significant fines for employers caught with illegal workers knowingly or unknowingly unless the worker had a passport with a visa even if it turned out to be false. Only so much a employer can do, but it should be fairly difficult to forge passports and visas and doing so should be punishable by life imprisonment.

Perfect, heck yeah for a starting point and with some greater minds than mine it could be made perfect.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

I like almost all of your plan, but I do have one question. Which government agency will administer this program? And what will be the costs to administer the program? And where will that money come from? Other than the costs though, your suggestion appears to be well thought out.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, the funding part has me scratching my head too. But let me throw this out there. Exempt the guest workers from having to pay federal taxes since they as citizens of another country won't be able to benefit from social security, do not depend upon our military for national security and so on, but deduct an amount equal to 75 percent of the fedtax to help fund it and charge the employers a fee to fund it too.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

One other concern I had but neglected to write above; because this would be a Federal program, would employers and employees be subject to various state rules and regulations. I'd hate to see 50 different minimum wages or 50 different working conditions simply because that would drive up the cost of administering the program. Then again, what would happen if a guest worker were working alongside someone not in the program. Would one worker be working under different conditions and for different wages? Still like your idea, just trying to work out the kinks in my head.

Fred Mertz 3 years, 9 months ago

Just think, we're just two anonymous posters on the internet and yet, we've probably made more progress on this issue then Congress has in decades. Think how great our government could work if they set politics aside and tried to find solutions instead of scoring points by making the other side fail.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

The biggest problem in government, at least as far the last 30 years or so is the fact that Democrats and Republicans don't seem to be able to get along. So problems don't get solved. I remember hearing stories how the two sides used to fight like heck during the day and then play cards and drink together at night. Now, neither even sees the other as a human being and they certainly don't socialize at night. Maybe a good drink of bourbon and a deck of cards would set this country back on the right path.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 9 months ago

When will these lawmakers realize that people are flocking to Kansas from Mexico with their young children so that 10 years from now they can pay the in-state tuition rate?

Sheesh, are they blind to the real problem here?

notanota 3 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget that they've also come to enact Sharia law and force everyone to gay marry each other.

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