Young illegal immigrants in Massachusetts will be allowed to pay lower in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities beginning today, following a declaration issued by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.
In order to qualify, the immigrants will have to obtain work permits through a new federal program as part of the Obama administration's halt in June of deportations of immigrants age 30 or younger, according to the Boston Globe
The announcement, contained in a letter sent out today to state colleges, is expected to slash the cost of higher learning for illegal immigrants who have had to pay out-of-state tuition rates by at least half no matter what public institution they attend. It also ended years of efforts to win lower rates for immigrants.
In 2004, for example, the Democratic-controlled legislature passed a measure allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state rates. But the bill was vetoed by then Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, this year's GOP nominee for president.
After that, according to the Globe, as the economy deteriorated so did efforts aimed at making college more affordable for illegal immigrants.
Patrick's decision, however, did not play well with immigration reform advocates in the state.
Steve Kropper, co-chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, which favors tougher limits on immigration, told the Globe that state and national leaders need to focus more on helping U.S. citizens and legal residents who can't afford college.
“I think it’s a bad decision. It’s bad for the country,” he said. “The Democratic Party’s position is not thoughtful about our own poor.”
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