Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

DREAM Act Becoming Major Mid-Term Battleground: Republicans Blast the Controversial Bill during Colorado Hearing

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

DREAM Act Becoming Major Mid-Term Battleground: Republicans Blast the Controversial Bill during Colorado Hearing

Article excerpt

GREELEY, Colo.

A U.S. congressional hearing focusing on a controversial illegal immigrant education law drew criticism from Republican lawmakers, signaling their intent to make the law a partisan election issue in November.

"Allowing in-state tuition for illegal aliens encourages the violation of federal immigration law and is unfair to legal aliens and out-of-state U.S. citizens," said U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., referring to a main tenet of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

Musgrave, who faces strong Democratic opposition in her re-election effort this fall, was one of just two members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce who attended the hearing at the University of Northern Colorado earlier this month.

Immigration reform is a hot-button political issue in Colorado, which has a large and growing population of undocumented workers, mostly from Mexico and other Central American countries. So far, 10 states have defied federal law and chosen to offer in-state tuition to the college-eligible children of illegal immigrants. Colorado has made no such move.

The DREAM Act would allow states to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrant college students under the age of 18. Once a student turns 18, the bill provides a speedy path to citizenship and protection from deportation.

Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., said the Senate bill "raised eyebrows" in Congress, including his.

"I can't help but think that providing benefits for illegal immigrants that aren't provided for all law-abiding American citizens is neither efficient nor effective," he says, suggesting that out-of-state citizens should also be provided in-state tuition for any institution.

During the hearing, one of the act's harshest critics was panelist and University of Missouri law professor Kris Kobach, who called it "perverse" and "ridiculous. …

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