Proponents try new path on tuition for immigrants in Oregon


In the past, it’s often been framed as a social justice issue, but on Monday supporters of a bill that would let illegal-immigrant Oregon high school graduates pay in-state university tuition rates chose to focus more on the proposed policy’s economic benefits.

At the introductory press conference for House Bill 2787, Gov. John Kitzhaber and three of the bill’s sponsors picked only representatives of Oregon’s business coalitions to join them. Together, they stressed that the bill would help create a more educated work force, benefiting Oregon’s employers and economy.

The bill would benefit children who were brought here by their parents when the families moved here illegally from other countries.

When children are born in the United States to illegal immigrants, they are entitled to the benefits of citizenship. But children who are illegally brought here when young are themselves illegal immigrants. They can legally attend public primary and secondary schools here, but they are not entitled to in-state tuition rates for public Oregon colleges, or many other benefits of legal residency.

Kitzhaber said current public college tuition rules deny the chance of a college education to thousands of children brought to the U.S. by their parents, “who have worked hard, who have gone to school, who’ve got good grades, (and) who’ve graduated high school.

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