UT DREAM Act students condem petition by Texas Aggie Conservatives
The petition from TAC, a registered student organization at Texas A&M, calls for a special session to reverse legislation that allows certain qualifying immigrants who are long-term residents of the state to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities provided that they:
· graduate from a Texas high school,
· reside in Texas for at least three years prior to graduating from high school,
· continuously live in the state for the last year, and
· either has or commits to obtain legal residency status when eligible.
“There is nothing conservative about their petition,” said Ainee Athar, a UT student and member of the UIL. “This is a mean-spirited action that seeks to punish young people who are doing everything they can to succeed, despite countless obstacles.”
An open letter from TAC expresses disappointment that Texas tax dollars are being used to subsidize college tuition for undocumented students. TAC will be collecting signatures for the petition from the public over the next week.
“It is outrageous that Texas A&M, because of Governor Perry, is awarding those who violated the law with in-state tuition and financial aid. The Texas government, especially in these troubling economic times, should not be subsidizing the higher education of adults who cannot legally work in the United States,” said Steven Schroeder, Chairman of the TAC.
In September, TAC denounced Texas A&M for promoting the DREAM Act during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“This petition would disincentivize personal responsibility at the expense of what’s best for Texas,” added UIL’s Athar. “Given the benefit of this legislation and the high costs of a special session, it’s hard to believe that this petition is motivated by something other than hate.”
In February 2001, then Texas House Representative Rick Noriega authored House Bill 1403, which granted certain non-immigrant students (including undocumented students) access to in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges. Governor Perry signed the bill into law in June of that year.
The law has dogged Perry on the campaign trail as he seeks the republican nomination for president. Perry has refused to back down on the immigration decisions he made as governor, while trying to reassure the republican base that he is tough on immigration. This has led to confusion among voters and has been cited as a one of the primary reasons for his decline in polls among republican presidential hopefuls.
According to a Dallas Morning News investigation, The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reports 12,138 immigrant students, about 1 percent of all Texas college students, benefited from paying in-state tuition.
The majority of the beneficiaries are undocumented students.
You can follow the author, Ray Ruiz, @EGMNRay on Twitter