Saturday, May 18, 2024

Florida Senate Panel Blocks Immigration Tuition Bill

Florida’s Senate Higher Education Committee blocked a bill this Tuesday that, if passed, would have granted in-state tuition for certain children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants.

The conditions of the Senate bill in question, SB 1018, would have allowed those children to pay in-state tuition provided that they graduated from a Florida high school that they had attended for a minimum of two years.

“As a U.S.-born American citizen I can vote, I pay taxes, I attended school in Florida,” said Carla Montes, a 20-year old Miami Dade College student, during her testimony.

As previously reported on La Plaza, life-long residents of the state of Florida are sometimes forced to pay more than double the in-state tuition rate, despite being U.S. citizens, having Florida birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

Sen. Steve Oelrich, a Gainesville Republican who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, interrupted Carla Montes to dispute her argument that having to pay out-of-state tuition is unjust and unfair.

“No, no, no, we’re talking about your parents,” said Oelrich. “That’s how we establish residency in the state of Florida, by the status of your parents.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Miami on behalf of these college students.

“This decision is closing the door to thousands of Florida residents that are willing to become skilled professionals and contribute to our economy,” said Juan Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Miami Herald