Fight over tuition for immigrants derails bill

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Indiana senators fearing a backlash from conservatives scuttled an expansive education proposal this week after it was amended to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants already enrolled in state schools.

Lawmakers banned illegal immigrants from qualifying for in-state tuition last year as part of a tougher immigration law. But Republican Sen. Jean Leising of Oldenburg amended a massive education bill this year to grandfather in those who enrolled in universities before July 2011.

"If they're going to be living here anyway, why not let them be productive members of Indiana society?" Leising asked. The measure would have kept roughly 200 students at state universities, including its Ivy Tech college network, from paying the more expensive out-of-state tuition rate.

The Senate was poised to approve the exemption as part of an education package that also called for expanding criminal background checks, mandating cursive writing instruction and dealing with gang activity in schools. But a last-minute lobbying blitz from conservative activists this week prompted the education measure's author, Republican Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury, to pull the bill Wednesday.

Leising called it a matter of fairness and had strong backing from other members of the Senate education committee who voted 8-2 last week to add the clause to the education package. But that support shriveled late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning as members of state and national groups pressed lawmakers to oppose the entire bill.

"We just didn't feel it was the right way to do that, it was snuck in the back door," said Bob Schrameyer, executive director of Citizens for Immigration Law Enforcement in Goshen. He said he learned about the grandfather clause Tuesday night and coordinated a lobbying blitz of state senators with a handful of other groups.

The national Americans for Legal Immigration claimed victory on its website Wednesday after pressing senators to oppose the measure.

"Thanks to your calls HB 1326 in Indiana has been held by the Senate instead of being voted on or passed today," wrote ALIPAC President William Gheen.

A spokesman for Indiana School Superintendent Tony Bennett said he will try to find another vehicle for some measures in the education package, including the removal of some outdated and duplicative education laws.

Lawmakers, including senators who voted for exemption in committee last week, probably realized they would face more trouble from voters following the lobbying blitz, said Sen. Mike Delph, Republican of Carmel, who co-authored the in-state tuition ban.

"Any type of amnesty at all would not be well received by the public, he said.

Angela Smith Jones, a lobbyist for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, said she found broad support for the exemption when she testified before the education committee and was surprised when lawmakers backpedalled on the issue.

"Maybe it was that it is too touchy of a subject," she said. The chamber, along with Indiana University, supported the exemption calling it a matter of fairness for students already enrolled in state schools.


  • Airfare
    I will personally buy the airfare for any of you willing to illegally immigrate to China. No visa, no job, no money, no nothing. You must (try) and stay there a full year without applying for any non-Chinese assistance. Maybe, just maybe, you will return, if you are VERY lucky, wih a modicum of common sense and realize how good you have it and want to protect it from being abused by those who who come in the US illegally. Good night and good luck!
  • Nation of Immigrants
    What you fail to see is that by denying basic education and creating higher financial and admittance burdens to college education you create a underclass that is not integrated into society, does not speak English, and has a resentful culture to "civil" society.

    This is the type of behavior that caused the 1965 Detroit riots, 1992 Los Angeles riots, 2005 French riots, or even the Balkans war.

    Integration and education is the solution.
    • Big Picture
      The U.S. government grants thousands of student visas which allow foriegn student to attend American universities legally.

      The carping going on here really isn't about education. It's about lefties bashing anything any Republican says or does. You really don't care about anything else which is why no one mentioned student visas.

      Why don't you try sneaking into another country, apply for admission to a university, admit you are there illegally, then insist on a tuition discount (since you are already there), and see what happens?

      If you ever do get out of prison, maybe, just maybe, you'll re-think being an America hating anarchist.
    • Tuition
      History returns.....sounds like an idiot. I am a GOP guy. Comparing me to John Birch is like me comparing you to the ultra left. Maybe it fits.
    • What About the Native Amercians?
      Chappie, the Native Americans were murdered, taken into slavery, and then rounded up and forced to live on desolate reservations.

      If you are trying to compare the European genocide of the Native Americans with some illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. to wash tables, mow lawns, build houses, and perform housekeeping in hotels, etc, then there is no comparison.

      If you want to have an intelligent discussion/debate about immigration, then have one. But, if you just want to post jack-ass comments, then go elsewhere or start your own blog.

    • DAV
      why is it so obsurd to require out of state tuition if your not a legal citizen? You know it was a republican who also wanted to deny instate disabled vets the education grant that has been in place for 100 years.
    • Do illegals pay taxes to support the schools
      As a tax payer my objection is that an illegal alien is not paying any taxes.

      These taxes support these schools.

      No illegal should be given any legal consideration until they follow the legal process to become a legalized citizen.

    • funny
      yea and look how that turned out for the indian people. thats what we have to look foward to
      • Has Indiana Brought Back the KKK
        The Republican party has become a bunch of nut jobs looking for conspiracies and spreading fear to get what they want.

        According to them, Immigrants are a threat to our nation as well as the Girl Scouts and they only are spreading communist, lesbian, baby killing propaganda to our racially pure and evangelical nation.

        Guess they forgot that we are a nation of immigrants that the American Indians considered illegal immigrants!

        They are sounding like the indiana KKK from the 1920's.

        Mike Delph may be the new D.C. Stephenson.

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