Thursday, February 6, 2014

NO AFFORDABLE EDUCATION FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS

THINK PROGRESS


Senator Moves To Block States From Granting In-State Tuition To Undocumented Immigrants

BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE ON FEBRUARY 6, 2014 AT 5:14 PM
facebook icon 10 twitter icon 78 google plus icon email iconlegislation makes in-state tuition contingent on high school attendance and graduation, rather than residency within the state. Vitter’s bill would undermine this by preventing any state action on the issue and effectively blocking all undocumented students from an affordable college education.
Without in-state tuition, college could be out of financial reach for many undocumented students whose average annual household income is $36,000. Undocumented students are legally ineligible to apply for federal financial aid and most state aid. Private loans and scholarships often have stipulations that require students to either be lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens. And dedicated scholarships for the undocumented community are sometimes underfunded, localized to certain states, or even schools.
Many undocumented immigrants enroll in community colleges which have open enrollment and thus have “zero impact” on admission rates of American students. The National Immigration Law Center also found that students who attend four-year colleges do not have enough impact to “affect the opportunities of others.”
This is not the first time that Vitter has demonized undocumented immigrants. In 2013, the senator opposed a New Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office decision to decline voluntary immigration detention requests, which would give officials wider discretion to not detain immigrants solely based on immigration status. At the time, Vitter said, “we know of many instances in which an illegal alien is released by local authorities and then commits a fatal crime.” In 2010, Vitter put out a controversial attack ad against his then-opponent Rep.Charlie Melancon, which features border crossers sneaking through a fence under a lit welcome sign. In 2008, Vitter introduced a series of failed anti-immigration proposals including making a single DUI into a deportable offense, jail time for border crossers, and more border fencing.