Lawmakers Grant In-State Tuition To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

The bill aims to make sure citizens born in the U.S. can get in-state tuition rates in Tennessee, regardless of their parents' immigration status. (Photo: Kris Price/SEIU/flickr)

The bill aims to make sure citizens born in the U.S. can get in-state tuition rates in Tennessee, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. (Photo: Kris Price/SEIU/flickr)

Students whose parents entered the U.S. illegally will be allowed to pay in-state tuition at Tennessee colleges, under a bill now on its way to the governor.

The bill passed the House 63 to 27, with little debate, marking a distinct shift from a few years ago, when lawmakers called such young people “anchor babies” and sought to make Tennessee a less welcoming place for undocumented immigrants.

House Education Subcommittee Chairman Mark White notes students born in the U.S. are citizens, regardless of their parents’ legal status.  White says continuing to exclude such citizens could get the state in trouble:

“There are other states, like Florida and others, who have been sued over this.  I don’t want the state of Tennessee to ever have to waste money over a frivolous lawsuit.”

White argues making it easier for people to get educated is never a bad thing.

Earlier this year state lawmakers killed a similar proposal to allow in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children.

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