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Instate Tuition for Children of Illegals

January 26th, 2012 by Anna Laura Rehwinkel

Children of illegal immigrants born in Florida are asking lawmakers to lower their college tuition. They’re paying out-of-state tuition, even though they’re US citizens. As Whitney Ray tells us, legislation to give the students in-state tuition has been filed, but isn’t going anywhere.

18 year old Renato Lherisson doesn’t want to be here at the state capitol. He’d rather be in school, but he can’t afford it.

“I was born in Florida. I went to high school in Florida. I want to go to college in Florida. I want to work in Florida. (slight sob) I’m sorry,” said Renato.

Renato is a US citizen born in Miami. He moved to Haiti after his father died and moved back after the 2010 earthquake. But since Renato’s is the son of illegal immigrants, if he wants to go to a state school, he’ll have to pay out-of-state tuition and right now. He can’t afford it. So he’s sitting this year out.

“I applied like everybody else expecting that I would be paying instate fees and then they told me I would have to pay three times the amount,” said Renato.

State legislation to allow Renato and other US citizens with illegal immigrant parents to pay instate tuition has been filed, but isn’t being heard.

“It is unfair, it isn’t right and this legislature should take action,” said Rep. Hazelle Rogers.

The chairman of the House Education Committee says he’s willing to give it shot, if a subcommittee vets it first.

“If it comes through the process, then in all probability we would,” said Chairman Bill Proctor.

Another, more controversial piece of legislation, would give instate tuition rates to anyone who spent three years in a Florida public school and graduated. Another obstacle facing Renato and other US citizens with illegal immigrant parents is student loans. The loans won’t cover out-of-state tuition.

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