Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Senate Kills Bill Granting In-State Tuition To U.S.-Born Children

The Florida Senate

Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, objected to a bill granting the Florida-born children of undocumented immigrants access to in-state tuition rates.

A bill that would allow Florida-born U.S. citizens to pay in-state college tuition fees regardless of the immigration status of their parents, died yesterday in the Florida Senate committee on Higher Education.

Sen. Steve Oelrich, a Gainesville Republican who chairs the committee, interrupted a 20-year-old Miami Dade College student, Carla Montes, during her emotional testimony.

Montes was born in Miami and graduated from Ronald Reagan High School in Doral. But her parents are undocumented, so she has to pay the out-of-state college tuition rate which is three times higher. Montes told the committee the policy is unfair because she is a lawful Florida resident.

“No, no, no, we’re talking about your parents,” Oelrich interrupted, according to the Associated Press. “That’s how we establish residency in the state of Florida, by the status of your parents.”

Montes responded by saying, “With all respect, the person who is sitting in the classroom, the person who’s giving back to this economy is me, not my parents.”

As StateImpact Florida reported earlier, the Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a lawsuit against the Florida education commissioner and university system chancellor on behalf of  five Florida students in the same situation as Montes.

“With all respect, the person who is sitting in the classroom, the person who’s giving back to this economy is me, not my parents.”

-Miami Dade College student Carla Montes

Tania Galloni is the managing attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Florida office. The last time we spoke with her, Galloni said Florida’s policy discriminates against U.S. citizens and violates the Constitution.

“One of the fundamental principals of our country is that a U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or where they came from,” Galloni said. “So these students are U.S. citizen, but they’re being treated differently from all other U.S. citizens. And the only reason they’re being treated this way is because their parents don’t have immigration status.”

So what is the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition?

For a four-year bachelor’s degree program at Miami Dade College, the in-state rate is $1,400 per term. The out-of-state rate for Florida born U.S. citizens with undocumented parents is $6,246 per term — a $38,767 difference for a student taking eight semesters to earn a degree.

And that figure doesn’t include summer school courses required of many Miami Dade College students.

Youths with Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) are now turning to the Hispanic Caucus, asking them to support two similar bills in the legislature, SB106 and HB81, that would grant undocumented students in-state tuition privileges.

What’s your view on allowing Florida-born children of undocumented immigrants or undocumented students access to the lower in-state tuition?


  • Dave Francis


    Nevada–has the same problems as
    the Sanctuary state of California, Arizona that has been overwhelmed by poverty
    from the large influx of illegal aliens. The only difference is the legislators
    in California and Nevada disregard their resident’s pleas for help and still
    pander to foreign nationals. That’s why all Governors, Mayors and every
    official, who supports this never ending plague must be removed from office.
    Every person who wants the 2006 real double fence, The Legal Workforce bill,
    recognized as E-Verify and The Citizenship Birthright Act amended should join
    the Tea Party or other strong advocates on this matter. Illegal immigration
    costs California $10.5 Billion annually, with Nevada annual fiscal burden of
    immigration to be approximately $630 million as according to the Heritage
    Foundation. Powerful interests in the state garner the benefits, while the
    average legal California family gets handed over nearly $1,200 annually. So
    what’s the real cost in Alabama, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina  or any of the other 43 States?

    Fortunately it just goes to show that legal immigrants especially
    generations of Hispanics are against illegal immigration and are for
    enforcement, by their positive vote in Florida for Mitt Romney. They too are
    suffering from the indignation as being blamed from the 500.000 that illegally
    enters America. Of course Nevada has its own set of problems, for it also has
    been flooded with illegal aliens. They have infiltrated the service industry,
    entertainment and worse hit of all—construction. Taking jobs from bonefide US
    citizens and legal residents, who were rejected as Contractors and
    sub-contractors could make more money from discount labor. They didn’t have to
    offer benefits to foreigners, who swarmed into Nevada during the height of the
    real estate boom. Other then Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Gingrich and Paul
    cannot be trusted with their promises to the foreign nationals, as they are
    against the fence and are calling with a Path to legality–that is not what the
    general public want?


    In one of the latest polls State of Maine
    voters were asked about their views on legal immigration. A substantial
    majority of respondents, 59 percent, judge that overall levels “are too
    high and should be reduced,” while only 6 percent believe immigration
    should be increased.

    Among the key findings of the poll:

    65% believe that illegal immigration negatively affects
    Maine. 78% oppose in-state tuition subsidies and/or admission
    of illegal aliens to public universities. 65% support state involvement in immigration enforcement,
    similar to policies enacted in Arizona and other states. 43% believe illegal immigrants take jobs from American
    workers, while only 32% believe they fill jobs Americans will not do. 59% support reducing overall immigration to the U.S.,
    while only 6% support increasing immigration.

    I’m  thinking we should take a leaf out of the British Islands immigration book, that makes a lot of sense:

    Immigration Minister Damian Green has outlined the principles behind the
    Government’s new ”selective” immigration policy that will give
    preferential treatment to investors, entrepreneurs and world-class artists,
    dancers, musicians and academics.The Minister said, “We want people who can benefit Britain, not just benefit from Britain?


    In California and
    Nevada millions of jobs that should be in the hands of citizens, instead
    have been stolen by people from across the globe.  Huge amounts of
    expenditures have been growing, because of careless use of Taxpayers’ dollars
    by politicians. Specific to Border States is the spiraling high cost of
    millions of illegal aliens pouring in, demanding equal rights to US citizens.
    22 million Americans are out of work and President Obama has passed executive
    orders, so hundreds of thousands of unlawful migrants and immigrants without a
    criminal record can stay here. Farmers want the cheap labor, as they remain
    exempt for paying their medical issues or even their children’s schooling. Many
    farmers even charge their workers rent for the room and board they live in on
    the property, which is illegal. The Guest Worker programs are a subject of
    fraud by the agricultural community, specifically by recruiters who represent
    the farmers. These people are often hired thinking they are going to award a
    Green Card, but are eventually told this is temporarily employment?  

    Democrats will look the other way
    in all elections, as illegal aliens are voting and will again through
    2012.  These are two unfunded mandates that the US government pays nothing
    towards, and  state compliance laws is mandatory and forced upon Americans
    by the courts. The low estimate for paying for all these unfunded mandates
    annually is $113 billion dollars.  Except to stay here, you have to have
    food, medical care and for their children and education. Staying here it means
    you have to commit a felony, as to find employment you must possess a
    legitimate Social Security number, unless the employer is committing an illegal
    act themselves. Therefore using some persons SSN is a victim of identity
    theft and that is a –FELONY. 


    As a patriotic American people we
    cannot afford to stop pursuing full, mandated “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” or
    mandated nationwide E-Verify. Without it our countries businesses will be
    overrun by illegal workers in every sector of industry. The circumstances have
    now become so critical, owing to the millions of jobless citizens, legal
    residents that our government needs to insist full operation of the computer
    based application. E-Verify is a valuable tool that has expanded to a growing
    number of honest businesses that have participated in the removal of foreign


    There is toxicity amongst the
    Democrats and Republicans, who have an irrational view and are eager to destroy
    any immigration enforcement at our undermanned border or tourists who overstay
    deliberately. As it stands a path to citizenship, espoused as Immigration
    reform wants to legalize all those already here. Can anybody imagine if foreign
    countries supported their citizens that America would not be suffering the
    problems of foreign workers and their families crowding the emergency rooms of
    major cities, educating their children and feeding off the limited benefits
    afforded the US population? E-verify must not be undermined or thrown into the
    waste pit of good immigration bills?


    Phone 202-224-3121 is the
    Washington center switchboard, to express your infuriated feelings and anguish
    at Senators and Representatives of both parties. Obamacare for all Americans
    will be inundated with illegal immigrants and will just drive more of them into
    our nation. They keep declaring no health care treatment for any illegal
    people, but unl ess the mandated federal bill such as E-Verify is operational,
    then how can we distinguish from the legal population and those who have broken
    immigration laws? Under such a Congressional law, the long trek home will begin
    if illegal workers cannot find a job. Those business owners who fail to comply
    could end up in prison or fined millions of dollars?  All immigration bills need to be passed
    before Obama tries to pass another failed amnesty, as in 1986.



  • Delma Perrine

    the law should do thier job and start deportation on all these students and their parents. NOW

    The illegals are breaking the law.

    If the law and Goverment did their job you wouldn’t be having this arguement NOW.

    PS don’t want hate mail for speaking out.

    • love&peace

      the child is legal the parents are not. so if she is Legal and abiding by the law why shouldnt she get in-state tuition??

  • joe plageman

    why dont you leave and enter legally like other people have to do. or better , why dont
    you try to make things better in your country instead of fleeing. you are just an economic
    refugee. quit taking the easy way out.

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »