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.
Tuition equity bills have also been introduced in Arizona, Hawaii, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Still other states, like New York, are pushing for bills to grant undocumented students access to financial aid and scholarships so they can pay for school.
Because undocumented students are not considered residents of the states where they live, undocumented immigrant youth who get to college are charged out-of-state tuition prices that are sometimes three times what their resident student peers pay. In the 11 years since Texas passed the first tuition equity bill, a dozen states have passed similar laws to eliminate this disparity.