Illegal Immigrant Tuition Bill Passes Senate, Faces Debate In House

DENVER (CBS4)– Students who live in Colorado illegally are one step closer to getting a break on tuition rates at state universities.

Currently public universities in Colorado have two tuition levels for in-state and out-of-state students. Senate bill 12-015, passed by the state Senate Friday, creates a third level of tuition. It’s called Colorado ASSET or “standard” tuition and would be available to illegal immigrants.

This is the 6th version of such bill that would create the new tuition bracket for illegal immigrants who make their home in Colorado. This version found enough votes but not without some heated debate on the floor of the Senate at the state Capitol.

“The message is that it is okay to commit felonies in the United States,” said Sen. Nancy Spence, a Republican representing Centennial.

“I’m painfully aware that I serve here in the Senate, not just under the weight of my own expectations, but also under the weight and expectations of an entire community,” said Sen. Angela Giron, the bill’s sponsor and a Democrat representing Pueblo.

Democrats said finding an affordable rate for illegal immigrants earns money for Colorado for the tuition from students who otherwise would not go to school. They believe those students would move on to states with more favorable laws.

“Why on earth would we let Kansas take our kids. Our very and brightest kids regardlesss of where they came from,” said one Democrat lawmaker.

“I want to go to Metro, Metro State, but because of the lack of money I had to go to community college,” said college student Isaias Vasquez. “I’m not asking for money, I’m just asking for the opportunity to pay a lower tuition.”

Republicans argue the time isn’t right for the bill. They said the federal government should address immigration first and pass the Dream Act. In the 20 to 15 vote, not one Republican voted to support the tuition bill.

“We should be talking to our federal government about these students, about the problems a non-secured border have created for Colorado and other states,” said Sen. Steve King, a Republican representing Grand Junction.

There are strict guidelines for a student to qualify for the program.

For students to be eligible for the standard rate a student will have to attend three or more years of high school in Colorado and graduate or obtain a GED. The student will then have to apply and be accepted at one of Colorado’s institutions of higher learning within 12 months after graduating from high school or earning a GED.

Colorado ASSET students will not be eligible for any state or federal financial aid. This means that no Colorado taxpayer dollars will go towards this program. Instead the colleges and universities in our state will see increased revenue from additional students attending our schools.

Institutions of higher education are allowed to opt-out of creating a standard-rate tuition category.

The tuition bill moves on to the state House where Republicans maintain control. The bill’s sponsor believes there are Republicans who will support the bill.

  • jeff

    Put this to a vote of THE PEOPLE! It will not pass. illegal immigrants do not deserve a break incollege tuition. They desreve a trip back to their home country. I don’t care at what age they came into the US. Illegal is still illegal! Find their parents and deport them too!

  • Linda

    How about securing our borders and enforcing immigration laws instead of giving illegals more rights than Americans have.

  • Leslie Hempstead

    As the parent of two college students who were born and raised in Colorado, I too, would like to pay a lower tuition rate. Why should illegal immigrants get to pay lower rates? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Eddie Mahala

    Letting an ILLEGAL ,,, ANYTHING!! pay LESS than an (out of state) LEGAL??? REALLY???? How does that FALL out of anyone’s MOUTH???? Much less make it to a debate!! What is to discuss? Much less, DEBATE???

  • Zman

    Why don’t we just give everything away free to all the illegals and get it over with??

    How come the Democrats who sponsored this bill aren’t mentioned by name??

  • wigglwagon

    If the state schools can afford to charge lower tuition rates, that savings should go to the children of Colorado citizens. It is time to lower the in-state tuition rates.

  • Stu Pidaso

    how do i become an illegal so i can get a break?

  • Pylar

    How can legislators be so out of touch with the people they were sent to represent? I agree that this should be put to a vote. Let those parents who are making huge sacrifices to send their children to college decide if a fire sale for illegals is a good way to spend tax dollars.

  • asodeska

    How dare they?
    Each and every one of us should find out how our representatives voted, and kick them out of office if they voted for this.

  • Charlie

    This is an outrage. Who would vote for something like this? I thought illegals were supposed to be deported.

  • Bobo

    What dont these people not underrstand about the term illegal ! They need to be kicked out of office and charged with Aiding and abetting ! We the people need to find out the names of these people who voted for this and send them out of this country! I served as a Marine for our country and when swore in as, I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic including the laws> So who are these people to take upon themselves to go against the laws for their benefit.

  • Shawn

    the government by allowing the illegals to stay are turning treason, and are so accused of treason vote them out

  • Bekah

    Giving preference to a certain group of people (illegal Hispanics) over others is not only racist, but it will negatively affect others who are not “favored.” It’s true that colleges are hurting for students. Tuition increases, lack of post-graduation jobs, and the inevitable student loan payback are forcing students to rethink college. But this is not the way to attract more students.

    Liberals love to bend the laws to favor their agendas. This latest attempt, however, will only create anger and resentment. These illegals have had plenty of time to “come out of the shadows” and start the citizenship process. But it’s much easier for them to say “To h*ll with America. Give me the goodies anyway.”

  • Delaware Bob

    When Ae you going stop pandering to illlegal aliens? Illegal aliens have NO RIGHT to be in this country. Pass a law like Alabama to get rid of them!

  • American Eagle

    I agree with all of above comments. This is an outrage to say the very least! I put 2 children through college and was never given any kind of tuition break for my children. I am of Hispanic origin (whatever that means), but my family has been here in the United States for over 150 years. We are all college grads from both New Mexico, as well as Colorado. I personally hold 3 degrees from CU. We all speak the language of this land and are United States citizens. Illegal is Illegal period. Most of these “anchor babies” hold alliance to Mexico and not the Untited states. 27% are either in the judicial system or will be by the age of 18, which will be another tax burden for Colorado citizens.
    Who cares if they move to another state? ADIOS AMIGOS! See ya later..BYE!

  • Megan

    The Hispanic lobby (which is quite large with very deep pockets) is trying to create a protected class for all Hispanics. So in this bill we have illegal Hispanics who have been singled out for special treatment. That means our laws don’t apply to them, or will be “tweaked” to favor them only. So this bill, if passed, will create a dangerous precedent.

    As other respondents here have said they, too, would like lowered tuition. But they pay a higher rate because they aren’t a member of this elite class (illegal Hispanics). America is a land of opportunity and everybody is equal. But we must have laws and these laws must be enforced. Otherwise, it’s a free for all. And we don’t want that — or do we?

  • Ted

    The comments of lucia guzman just reaffirm to me, that when “legal” mexicans say they are against illegal migration they are lying.

  • mildmannered

    The idea is flawed from the start. Illegal immigrants deserve human rights but taxpayers have no obligation to take it further.

    Americans believe in fair play, and a special class of tuition just isn’t.

    Compared to the other 49 states, this state is so unsupportive of education. Let’s remedy this and take care of Colorado citizens first.

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