Oregon lawmakers bucking a national get-tough trend on illegal immigration Thursday moved a bill forward to allow students in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition, the Oregonian reported Friday.
State Sen. Larry George
, a Sherwood Republican, was the lone dissenting vote on the Senate Education Committee that passed the measure. He said the proposal could cost the state money at a time when it’s dealing with tight budgets.
"We are cutting school days, we can't fund full-day kindergarten," he said, "and then we're passing something that will put an additional burden on the higher education system."
Opponents of the bill said it would reward students breaking the law at the expense of legal Americans.
The bill would allow illegal immigrant high school seniors who have lived in Oregon the last three years to pay in-state tuition at the state’s seven public universities. They now pay out-of-state tuition, which is generally three times higher, and which many can’t afford.
The vote brought outrage from some watching the proceedings.
“We have a pathetic bunch of people in charge," fumed Mary Mayer, of Beaverton. "These are people here illegally. The government has not kept these people out of our country. Now they're saying Oregon taxpayers are going to pay for them."
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