Documented or Not, They’re Texans

  In the September 22, 2011 Fox News-Google GOP Primary Debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated, “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.” His defense of the current Texas law that allows undocumented students to receive in-state tuition stands out amongst a slate of Republican nominees eager to demonstrate their anti-immigrant bona fides. So, what does Texas law actually say?  Section 54.052 of the Texas Education Code states that an individual qualifies for in-state tuition if he or she: 1) has lived in Texas for three years before graduating or receiving a GED from a Texas high school, and 2) has also lived in the state for a year prior to enrollment in college. In 2001, the law authored by Rep. Rick Noriega passed easily, with 157 legislators supporting the measure and only five members of the Texas Legislature voting against it. Amid the controversy over illegal immigration, the issue of undocumented children and their access to college has received increasing attention from policymakers across the nation.  This year alone, both Illinois and California passed legislation granting access to in-state tuition for undocumented state residents ...

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