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Despite repeated reports of the positive effects of embracing immigrants into the community, Missouri legislators have passed another bill that prevents undocumented immigrants from qualifying for in-state tuition college rates. Missouri lawmakers are being criticized for specifically excluding the immigrant population from being able to get an education especially since most of the young immigrants were brought to the U.S. by their parents as children and are all American except for their immigration status.
Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick is one of Missouri’s legislators and bill’s sponsors who wanted to amend the state’s budget bill in order to have the existing ban be written into state law. Fitzpatrick stated he only wants everyone in Missouri to be treated fairly and if he intended to keep undocumented immigrants out of school he would have written that into the amendment.
The House Budget Committee approved the vote and lawmakers will debate more about the amendment when they return from their midsession break.
Taking an opposite stance, the St. Louis Community College board decided as of the New Year to offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants with Missouri high school diplomas. By allowing a college education to be attainable to those who wants to learn will eventually turn into an investment. Immigrants who get an education will “want to live, work and go to school in the area.”
After they get a job, most will start businesses and pay taxes making Missouri a better place to live. 18 states including Illinois already offer in-state tuition for undocumented students, but Missouri lawmakers are taking a huge leap backwards. President Obama met with families and Hispanic lawmakers last week trying to figure out ways to makes immigrant’s lives easier in the U.S. Millions of undocumented families live and work right among us, and because they will not be leaving anytime soon, Missouri will have to start adopting more immigrant friendly laws.
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