Media General News Service
Published: January 27, 2009
The Virginia Senate today approved a bill that would prohibit illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition benefits unless they meet a series of stringent academic, immigration and residency criteria.
Under Senate Bill 1037, sponsored by Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, illegal immigrants would only qualify for the in-state benefit if they attend a Virginia high school, live in the state and have paid taxes for three years.
Such applicants would also have to demonstrate that they are not in the process of being deported from the country and that they are in the process of applying for permanent residency in the U.S.
The bill now moves to the House of Delegates.
After reading the above short news article, I had to stop and ask, is this a restriction or has the door opened just a crack for children of illegal immigrants. How does this bill tighten up on things? Currently, I don’t think children of illegal immigrants are even eligible for admission to 4 year colleges. Are they admitted to the community colleges in Virginia and what tuition rate do they pay if admitted?
Passage of the Dream Act would level the playing field for these students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the United States out of legal status. Those who qualify academically and residentially for in-state tuition should receive it regardless of their immigration status if they meet the criteria of other students. Slapping a 3 year residency requirement on these students when other Virginia students have a 1 year residency requirement might not pass constitutional muster.
Far too many people have criticized children of illegal aliens for joining gangs, having poor high school graduation rates and doing poorly in school in general. Now this same group of nay-sayers will send up a collective hue and cry over these young adults even being allowed in a US college or university, even if they have exhibited excellent academic skills and model behavior. It seems like they just cannot win.
Getting an education always seems like a win-win situation to me. If a student has a good academic track record and has met residency requirements, he or she should be able to receive in-state tuition rather than paying the higher out of state rate. Isn’t this all based on where you live?