New York State Senate Kills Tuition Aid for Illegal Immigrants

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 07:17 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The New York State Senate failed on Monday to pass a bill approved by the Assembly that would have provided illegal immigrants with college tuition assistance, The New York Times reported.

The New York Senate is controlled by Republicans in collaboration with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which is aligned with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor was unenthusiastic about the bill though had been expected to sign it if it passed the Senate. State Sen. Jeffrey Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, had been under liberal pressure to allow a vote. In general, only measures assured of passage are acted upon by the state's upper chamber.

With Klein voting in favor, the bill garnered 30 votes, with 29 opposed. Thirty-two votes were needed to pass the legislation.

Latino immigration advocates complained that the vote was called unexpectedly and that at least one senator who might have supported the bill was not present.

In defending his rejection of tuition aid to undocumented immigrants, Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti said he was mindful that many "legal families are struggling with the high cost of college education right now."

Illegal immigrants who can prove New York state residency are eligible for lower in-state tuition rates.

The Democratic-controlled State Assembly had passed the aid bill in February and challenged the Senate to act on the legislation, The Oneida Daily Dispatch reported.

At the time, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "These are children who are here. They are here not so much by their own choice, they are here. They know no other country, in most instances, and they should be treated like every other student that we have in our schools today. That's the issue here."

Only California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington grant state financial aid to undocumented immigrants, the Times reported.

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