The Senate Education committee heard testimony this week on a bill prohibiting illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition at Indiana colleges and universities.
Kokomo Representative Mike Karickhoff says his bill is not meant as an attack on illegal immigrants in Indiana:
“So if they were to discover a person that was receiving a resident rate,” he says, “it would not require them to report that person or even kick them out of school, it’s just going to require them to charge out-of-state tuition.”
Indianapolis Senator Scott Schneider also says he doesn’t think the bill is about denying opportunities to students.
“We’re not putting up a barrier for education,” he says, “we’re taking away a taxpayer subsidy for those students.”
But immigration attorney Angela Adams says the bill would punish students who deserve a chance at higher education.
“These kids aren’t criminals,” she says. “They aren’t harming anyone. They aren’t joining gangs, they aren’t dropping out of high school and they aren’t getting pregnant as teenagers. These are kids who want more than anything to go to college.”
Adams suggests amending the bill to allow students who have lived in the state for at least three years and graduated from an Indiana high school to be eligible for in-state tuition, a measure she says at least ten other states have adopted. But no amendments have been officially considered yet.