FEBRUARY 03, 2011
As more states push for stricter immigration enforcement one is bucking the trend, instead working to help illegal immigrants by offering them a taxpayer-funded benefit that should be reserved for legal U.S. residents and citizens.Colorado lawmakers are on the verge of passing legislation to give illegal immigrants discounted in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. The measure has a good chance of passing the state’s Democrat-controlled Senate and could even make it through the Republican-led House, according to a Denvernewspaper.The Colorado Senate narrowly defeated a similar bill in 2009, but the law (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow) got tweaked before being reintroduced and some legislators who voted against it are expected to support it. The bottom line is that both versions offer illegal immigrants discounted tuition at public institutions of higher learning.The legislation’s two sponsors—both Democratic state senators—are promoting it as an economic development issue, asserting that children who can’t afford to attend college don’t reach their full potential as contributors to the state’s economy. Therefore they risk becoming part of a permanent underclass, according to the lawmakers and their supporters.Ten states—including Texas, Utah, California, Oklahoma and Maryland—already subsidize the college education of illegal immigrants who graduate from local high schools. A few weeks ago Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit to stop government tuition benefits for illegal aliens in Montgomery County, Maryland where the perk is offered because officials claim it’s essential to promote the state’s security and economic stability.Colorado’s plan comes amid a growing push by local governments nationwide to combat illegal immigration, the result of frustration over years of federal inaction. Dozens of state lawmakers plan to draft measures to curb illegal immigration and at least six states are set to introduce bills similar to Arizona’s, which bans “sanctuary city” policies, makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation and requires police to check the immigration status of people stopped for questioning.More than 1,000 immigration-related bills will be introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states as well as its commonwealths and territories. In each of the last two years, the figure reached about 1,500 and is expected to grow this year amid fury over the federal government’s inaction.
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