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State Sen. Beth Bye Leads Passage of In-State Tuition Bill

Bill will extend in-state tuition to undocumented residents who meet specific criteria.

State Sen. Beth Bye (D-5th District), co-chair of the legislature's higher education committe, led the Senate's effort to pass a bill on Tuesday that allows certain undocumented high school graduates to be eligible for in-state tuition at Connecticut colleges and universities.

According to a news release from her office, the bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 21-14, mostly along party lines. Several proposed amendments by Republican lawmakers were defeated, and the debate included "hours of Republican filibustering" before the final vote, according to the release.

The bill already passed the House of Representatives on May 12, and now awaits the signature of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“This bill is about educational opportunity,” Sen. Bye said in the release. “It’s about students who graduate from Connecticut high schools paying the same tuition as their classmates.”

In a speech before the State Senate, Sen. Bye told the story of her grandfather – the son of an indentured servant who came to Massachusetts from Ireland – and later graduated from Vanderbilt University and Yale Law School.

As she urged support for the bill, Sen. Bye also invoked the words of former President Ronald Reagan who, during his presidency, granted amnesty to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,” said Bye according to the release.

According to the news release, the bill will permit those who lack legal immigration status to qualify for in-state tuition if he or she:

  • resides in Connecticut;
  • attended any educational institution in the state and completed at least four years of high school here;
  • graduated from a high school in Connecticut, or the equivalent; and
  • is registered as an entering student -- or is currently a student at -- UConn, a Connecticut State University, a community-technical college, or Charter Oak State College.

Those meeting the above criteria must file an affidavit with their college "stating that they have applied to legalize their immigration status or will do so as soon as they are eligible to apply."

According to the release, this legislation is expected to extend in-state tuition to approximately 200 of the 120,000 students who attend colleges in Connecticut.


Paul Chotkowski May 25, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Speaking honestly is not a virtue in these politically-correct environs where progressive orthodoxy and party obedience is valued above all else but let me give it a try even at the risk of being branded a racist [which I most definitely am not]. The politically correct and progressive-certified word is undocumented immigrant. The actual word is illegal alien, a person who is breaking the law of the United States of America, and a person subject to deportation. Giving illegal aliens subsidized college tuition, which I and my fellow taxpayers are required to pay for, is “unjust”. There is a defined process to become a citizen of the USA and thereby accrue the rights, benefits, and responsibilities thereof. My grandparents came to this country legally, I have the paperwork to prove it. I volunteer with the town’s ESL and Adult Ed programs in large part because I have the greatest respect for individuals who come to this country legally and work to better themselves and their family. Assisting legal immigrants is one small way I attempt to repay the blessing of being an American. But I am an American, not an Internationalist or a Globalist. I follow the laws of our country and expecting others to do the same and saying so is not racist or bigoted. Insofar as there is a role for government in higher education, it should not be redistributing my earnings to illegal aliens. Here is yet another reason should Beth Bye (D) run again for Senate, I will not vote for her
Jeff Hogan May 25, 2011 at 06:07 PM
The 'rule of law' used to be a sacrosanct ideal in this country. How do we expect people to obey and abide by laws when we pass laws that actually financially incent law-breaking? I believe in Voltaire's saying: "Common sense is not so common." Our lawmakers are institutionalizing this nonsense. Legal citizens will pay for yet another 'program' that our state can't afford. This amazes me.
Phil Dunn May 25, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Senator Bye has obviously never run a business or she would know that an illegal alien cannot be legally hired. My business is compelled by Federal Law to "document" the eligibility of all of our employees to work or we will be in violation of the law. Does Senator Bye and the rest of her party that voted for this law understand that even though they might want give our scarce tax dollars to an illegal alien, that same person cannot be legally hired once they obtain a college education. The only job the person is likely to obtain is working under the table for a landscaper or restaurant--work that does not require a college degree. I would like to see the Federal Government withhold all aid to Connecticut's public colleges and universities until the law is repealed. If our State legislators do not like the Federal Law they can petition their representatives in the Congress and the Senate to do something about the law. Connecticut cannot simply decide to break the law--especially with my tax dollars.
Paul Chotkowski May 25, 2011 at 07:51 PM
The “Holder” Justice Department files a lawsuit against Arizona for trying to enforce what is basically federal immigration law but does nothing against San Francisco and hundreds of other “Sanctuary Cities”, [see http://www.ojjpac.org/sanctuary.asp for a list of Sanctuary Cities. I do not support OJJPAC; however, they maintain what appears to be a reasonably inclusive list]. That is about all the “go-ahead” Senator Bye, Governor Malloy and their merry band of redistributive Progressive [CT Democrat party members] required to take yet another step in turning the Nutmeg State into San Francisco-East or should I say the People’s Republic Connecticut! Shame on all who take my taxes to subsidize law breakers, who as Mr. Dunn so eloquently stated, can’t legally work in CT or anywhere in the USA once they have their subsidized education!
Deborah Netto May 26, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Amen Gentlemen! Especially with the high cost of tuition that continues to go up almost every year and our budget deficit. I have come to the conclusion that the we are living in bizarro world, where the minority now rules.

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