Local News

In-State Tuition Bill Misses Key N.C. Legislative Deadline

Posted June 7, 2005

— Hispanic advocates say a bill to give children of some illegal immigrants in-state tuition at state universities appears to be dead.

House Bill 1183

did not make it past a cutoff date last week that legislators set up to weed out proposals that do not have strong support.

The measure would have given in-state tuition for University of North Carolina and community college campuses to students who attend North Carolina high schools for at least four consecutive years before graduation. The teenagers also would have to apply for legal immigration status to receive the resident rate.

The legislative proposal created an outcry from opponents on talk radio stations and the Internet almost when it was filed in April.

"There's a legal way to immigrate to the United States -- do it," said Sen. Hugh Webster, R-Alamance/Caswell.

El Pueblo

, a Latino advocacy group, posted some attacks it received from the opposition such as "Since Mexicanos don't practice birth control, they have litters of babies."

Opponents in the state Legislature said it was not about race.

"This is not about any class or type of people. This is not about Hispanics. This is about criminal conduct," Webster said.

Of the 842 people surveyed in a recent Elon University poll, 49 percent said they support the idea and 41 percent oppose it.

"The poll is showing that there's a silent majority that favors fairness for the children of immigrants. The children didn't come here of their volition. Their parents brought them," said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham.

El Pueblo and other advocacy groups have already scheduled a luncheon June 28 to discuss the issue. As for the opponents, one group may start running radio ads for another bill that would deny public assistance benefits to illegal immigrants.


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