For Immigrant Families And In-State Tuition, One Proposal Advances While Another Falls

Sen. Todd Gardenhire opted not to push for a vote on Senate Bill 1951, saying he'll try again to pass it, and didn't want to taint it with a negative vote in the meantime. (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Sen. Todd Gardenhire opted not to push for a vote on Senate Bill 1951, saying he’ll try again to pass it, and didn’t want to taint it with a negative vote in the meantime. (Photo: Daniel Potter/WPLN)

Tennessee senators drew a line Monday, over the cost of college for students whose parents are undocumented immigrants.  The Senate voted to let those born in the U.S. pay in-state rates—but sidelined a proposal to help undocumented students born elsewhere.

Senator Todd Gardenhire, a Republican from Chattanooga, says his two proposals “shocked” people at first.  The more controversial one would’ve granted in-state rates for undocumented students whose parents brought them across the border as kids.

But Gardenhire couldn’t rustle up the votes to move it forward, pointing to outside groups he says “drew a line in the sand” over immigration.

 “They don’t want to give an inch anywhere along the line until they get other things.  And I’m not interested in it, and I’ve tried to stay away from those issues.  But they were able to cloud the issues enough with what I thought were—I don’t want to say ‘phony’ issues, but phony objections.”

Gardenhire’s other proposal passed the Senate 20-9 Monday night; it would extend in-state tuition to students who were born in the U.S. but whose parents are undocumented.  That measure is  up for a vote in the House on April 7th.

Raw audio:

Click above for raw audio from Sen. Gardenhire.

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