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.

—Jim Nolan

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? 

125 Thoughts to “Va. Senate backs bill to restrict tuition benefits for illegal immigrants”

  1. michael

    Moonhowler none of your reasons for why we don’t get into the school of our choice lists “legal” status, or IQ and SAT scores for that matter, but you did mention grades. THAT tells me the reasons you listed don’t account for a person’s or a families illegal behavior. Legal behavior should determine who is “legally” entitled to the best education and who is not, because 6 billion innocent people are harmed by those who try to do it “illegally” and that is immoral and UNFAIR to all others (except for the money discrimminator, we have yet to declare that ALL people must make the same salary).

    I cannot condone “illegal” behavior as a fair and equitable means to get ahead in the world, when it harms so many innocent people and denies them a fair and equal opportunity for education, regardless of your belief that “illegal” behavior does not matter.

    To me and most others it does.

  2. Moon-howler

    I don’t think the parent status has anything to do with the kid. The kid has no control over it. The kid can do nothing to adjust his/her status until age 18. (and let me add, good freaking luck then)

    You are right about one thing, I do not feel as you do, Michael. I don’t feel sorry for ‘illegals’ particularly. I don’t think they are pitiable people for the most part. I think kids who do well in school and who have lived in Virginia most of their lives should be entitled to instate tuition benefits.

    You do not know if their parents have paid taxes or not. You cannot buy a car or live in a house or eat or clothe yourself or your family without paying taxes. So those parents paid taxes, even if they never paid a dime of income tax. Some states don’t even have an income tax. They gouge you in other ways.

    How about the kid of drug addicted single parent who is on welfare her entire life. No taxes paid there either. Are we going to snoop into that kid’s life and make them prove they paid taxes or keep them out of college? Or maybe not give them in state tuition because they are the kid of a drug addict?

    I would be curious what aroused the suspicions of UVA to even ask about his parents. Maybe it was the name Lopez.

    And Michael, do not put words in my mouth. I never said illegal behavior does not matter nor do I think that it does not matter. I am just not out for punishing kids for trying to do the right thing.

  3. Rick Bentley

    “For all intensive purposes, Nelson is as much a resident of VA than other child born here.”

    Wrong, Elena. You can’t just wish it so. And I’m unwilling to grant charity to him unless and until we extend more of a helping hand to our taxpaying citizens’ chidren first.

    “Nelson’s parents have paid taxes, with the food they buy, the clothes they purchase, the rent or mortgage they pay. ”

    What about the several thousand a year most of us here pay in property tax? Illegal aliens pay less proportionately because they cram into houses. More demand for services, less tax base. This is why PWC was turning into a ghetto. You were fiddling while Rome burned and thank God for Greg L, HSM, and common sense in general to reverse the trend.

  4. Rick Bentley

    Moon-Howler, let me break this down – though i feel I’ve made this arguement at least 11 times in past threads –

    Kids’ ability to go to college IS affected, very much, by their parents’ behavior. The government makes an assumption for parents over a modest income level that they should be contributing a certain amount. But they don’t all do that.

    I know one young woman who had to drop out of college, she couldn’t pay for her tuition OR borrow enough, while her mother furnished her own house with new furniture and paid for liposuction.

    In my case, I got through in 4 years but I can tell you that the amount my family was willing to contribute was “nada” and with less luck i would have been struggling. As it was I adopted living conditions that were less than optimal.

    is it the kids’ fault? No. but they’re deeply affected by the Federal Government’s somewhat abritrary and socialistic assumption about what their parents can, will, should do. It is, like so many of the goofball rules our society has evolved to, based on “income level” not taking into account previous debts and so forth. It is very unfair to many kids and has real-world consequences.

    But no one is dead in the water. Everyone can move towards financial independence from the parents, and can then borrow.

    I will absolutely never support an effort to ease the financial burder specifically for illegals’ kids rather than fight for rules that concern themselves with EVERYONE. There are so many American kids in bad situations, nobody gives a care, but cry instead if some illegal alien’s kid, who should rightfully have been deported, has to wait a couple of years before they can borrow MY MONEY and go to college. It’s sick, it’s messed up, it makes me very angry. This is the root phenomenon in media coverage of these issues – a constant stream of tears for the illegal alien or theor children and no compassion for the legal citizens.

  5. Rick Bentley

    hey i found a sneak preview of a Washington post article to be printed tomorrow :

    Juan Gonzales has a tear in his eye. The 27 year-old resident of Fairfax has just learned that his sprawling 1.2 acre house has been foreclosed.

    “I pay taxes, every time I buy food”, says Gonzales in Spanish. “Someone should have looked out for me. And I’m angry. I barely have money now to pay for the crayons for my children”. Although the public school system in Fairfax pays for Juan’s 3 children to attend, and ESOL classes for the eldest, crayons are not covered after the first few breakages. Juan also occasionally has to pay for extra milk for the children – free school lunches only cover a single, small, carton of milk.

    “If they didn’t want to pay for us to have a house, why would they pay for my child’s birth and make him a US citizen without a home?” asks Maria, Juan’s wife, in a rich deep Spanish baritone. Maria works as a food processing consultant at the McDonald’s around the block. Though she is still employed nearly full-time, Juan’s day labor income has dried up to the point that sacrifices are needed on a daily basis. “Yesterday I had in my shopping cart some tortillas, some candles for the Virgin Mary, and some crayons. I could only afford two.” Maria chose the tortillas and the crayons.

    Sadly the problem continues to perpetuate. Unable to afford luxuries like birth control, Maria is pregnant and will be dropping anchor again in 6 months.

    “I am worried that we may have to move to an apartment, where the poor white people live” Maria confides. “It is not so good there. And if we have to move, I do not know what will happen to our 19 renters.”

  6. Rick Bentley

    damn the author stepped on a joke, he meant to say she chose the tortillas and the candles

    oh well

  7. Moon-howler

    You and I just see things very differently, Rick. I see educated people contributing more to society than I see non-educated people doing. We aren’t talking about a benefit, we are talking about how much something costs.

    The government is very tricky about involving parents of kids over 18 and under 21. Medicaid and other social programs have a wealth of rules that do not make sense. Just because the government does it, doesn’t make it right.

    My bottom line to everyone is, I would far rather see the children of immigrants (who are here, whether we like it , approve of it or not) doing well in school and going on to college than not doing it. If for not other reasons, it is more economicial in the long run for them to do so.

  8. Rick Bentley

    So why don’t you just argue for lower tuition rates for everybody? or an end to the in-state out-of-state system? Why would you instead want to create a special privilege for illegal aliens?

  9. Moon-howler

    Colleges have to run. I think all in-state students should receive in-state tuition. I don’t care if out of state students pay a higher rate. In fact, I would expect them to.

    I do not want to create a special priviledge for illegal aliens. I want students who have lived in this state for the amount of required time to be able to obtain in-state tuition rates.

    You apply for the rates, you get the bill. If your parents apply for the rate, they get the bill. Sounds simple enough to me. At 18, you ought to be able to choose whether your in state status or your parents will be the decider.

    I don’t think going to college is a special privilege created just for illegal aliens. I would expect them to have initiated residency papers. I don’t think that the govt hands out any of those though.

    There really are 2 different issues here. Admission and in-state tuition rates.

  10. Moon-howler

    Why do you feel compelled to want to punish children of illegal immigrants who have done the right thing? Those kids have absolutely no control over their own destiny until age 18. I just see this as vindictive. Do we want to go for the grand kids also?

    One reason I am so adamant about this is hearing about how ‘illegals’ dont assimilate, they don’t do this, they don’t do that, they don’t speak English, they are dirty, they have disease, they don’t want to improve, they are peasants….on and freaking on.

    When one wants to improve, there is that boot on their heads again. Sorry, you can’t go to our college or sorry, you can go but it will cost triple what it costs your next door neighbor who has ‘good’ parents.

  11. Rick Bentley

    “Why do you feel compelled to want to punish children of illegal immigrants who have done the right thing? ” What “right thing”? Every kid who’s applying to college is doing “the right thing”?

    Do you realize you’re trying to create one more incentive for illegal immigrants to come here? And to Virginia in particular.

    The red carpet is either out, or it is not.

  12. Rick Bentley

    The arguement is not “you can’t go to college”, it’s “you can go to college if and when you are independent of your criminal parents”.

  13. Rick Bentley

    I really feel, strongly that we need instead of focusing on peripheral issues like this to CRACK DOWN HARD on illegal immigration. this whole sick phenomenon we are discussing here is one of the 2001 side effects created by our scumbag ruling class creating and inflating the illegal immigration problem for their personal gain. I want to not only vomit on their shoes, but hold them accountable for enfocing the laws they swore to uphold.

  14. hello

    Hi TWINAD, I was just reading thru the comments and came across yours in which you referenced “all law abiding illegal immigrants”. That makes no sense at all… law abiding would mean that you abide by all laws, so, how can an illegal immigrant be law abiding? They are breaking at least one law by being here illegally.

  15. Elena

    do you realize that you are propogating an urban legend with your fake story? People over on BVBL actually believe it is a factual article from the Wash Post. How sad that people are so stuck in their bubble of generalizations that they believe such garbage.

  16. Moon-howler

    Elena, no way!!!

  17. Elena

    True, I swear it. You should check it out! You know M-H, the way I see Rick’s perspective, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. You deny these kids the way to reallly excell in society, keeping them from entering fully, our community, and you see the writing on the wall. No way to educate, no way to reach their full potential? I see nothing but trouble for those kids, and if it’s trouble they find, who do you think ultimately pays……. me, you, Rick, everyone. No good comes of keeping from this scenario. I also wonder, why if I can pay my speeding ticket, “pay me debt to society” so to speak, why can’t we allow the same for hard working undocumentend people? Am I a criminal, even though I paid “restitution”, will I always be a criminal in the eyes of people like Rick? Just wondering where the “gray” area of life begins. For we all know, very few issues are black and white.

  18. Moon-howler

    Rick, I have to ask…is there any segment of society you do like and approve of?

  19. TWINAD


    Of course I was referring to illegal immigrants that have broken no other law than entering illegally. Was it that difficult to figure out? In other words “law abiding” illegal immigrants.

  20. Rick Bentley

    Either the red carpet is out, or it is not. You ladies will extend the carpet, line it with gold, and then wonder why so many illegal immigrants are coming here, and why wages are so stagnant.

  21. Alanna

    We didn’t put out the red carpet. The feds did.

    Additionally, we just came out of a huge economic boom. Don’t you think that wasn’t in part driven by the labor of some of these folks?

    Just because the economy has turned south doesn’t mean you need to go looking for a scapegoat in these people. Don’t you know that economies are cyclical?

  22. hello

    Hi TWINAD, it’s not hard for me to figure out at all… however, what do you think that the percentage is of illegal immigrants that are here are not breaking any other law other than being here illegally? I would be willing to bet that the percentage is in the single digits. So what, do none of them drive? Do none of them work under a false id? Do none of them not pay their taxes (however, in light of Obama’s cabinet picks I’m not sure not paying taxes is wrong any more)? I mean seriously, give me a break, illegal immigrants don’t come here to sit around and do nothing.

    Is that difficult for you to figure out?

  23. TWINAD


    In PWC it’s been determined that 1.6% of the crime in our county is committed by illegal immigrants. No, they don’t come here to sit around and do nothing…they come here to WORK just like all immigrants did in the past.

  24. hello

    Hi TWINAD, that’s exactly my point… if they are here illegally how are they working “legally”? How are they getting their jobs “legally”? How are they even getting TO their jobs “legally”? You even agreed with me, they are here to work. I get that. My whole point is that being here illegally is not the ONLY law they are breaking, it’s just the first law they are breaking. The phrase “law abiding illegal-immigrant” is the definition of an oxymoron. It’s makes absolutely no sense at all and it does not exist.

    Also, I have no beef with you at all, I like you and I know your situation. My whole point was to point out the obvious contradiction in the phrase you used.

  25. TWINAD


    What I am trying, and not succeeding, in saying is this: that yes they are here illegally, but they are not “criminals” in that they are stealing, or kidnapping and raping people…they are not, for the most part (except the 1.6% in our community) committing crimes that get an American citizen or legal resident thrown in jail. Working and driving are not crimes, but because they are “illegal” they are crimes. This is MY point. For the most part the only “crimes” they are committing are those that are related to being here without status…not crimes that would get anyone thrown in the slammer. This is what I’m saying. I hope it’s a little clearer.

    And some “illegals” do have a legitimate driver’s license and others get rides to work with their supervisor, another employee, walk, ride the bus or their bike. Not every “illegal” is lucky enough to own a car to drive without a license.

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