The Washington Times-Herald

State News

April 11, 2013

Push to roll back ban on in-state tuition for immigrants stops short

INDIANAPOLIS — House Republicans who wanted to roll back a two-year-old ban on in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants have abandoned their plan to expand a Senate bill covering a much smaller group of students.

Backers of the effort said there wasn’t enough support for what has become a political hot potato in the ongoing debate over immigration reform.

“I’m terribly disappointed,” said Republican Rep. Rebecca Kubacki of Syracuse, who wanted to repeal what she’s called an overly punitive law. After it went into effect in 2011, hundreds of students dropped out of college because they couldn’t afford the much higher out-of-state rate.

“The important thing is, I did not want the (current) bill to die,” Kubacki said. “I didn’t want it derailed. Sometimes you take what you can get.”

On Thursday, Senate Bill 207 passed through a second reading by the House with only one amendment.

As is, the bill only rolls back the 2011 ban for students who were enrolled in college when the law went into effect. It also clears the way for U.S. military veterans who move to Indiana to pay the much cheaper in-state rate at Indiana’s public universities.

The bill has to go to a final vote in the House, but can’t be amended.

Kubacki, the first Hispanic Republican in the Indiana General Assembly, wanted to broaden the language of Senate Bill 207 to include children who met the new federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. That policy stops the deportation of immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally.

She had the support of Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma and Republican House Education Chairman Bob Behning, but apparently not enough support from others in the Republican-controlled legislature. House Republicans discussed the issue during a closed-door caucus meeting Thursday but there was no debate on the House floor.

Behning said Senate Bill 207, as is, “is the first step. There’s always next year.”

Behning said he doubted the Senate, which passed the limited language in the current bill, would support an expanded bill. The Republican Senate authors of the bill, Jean Leising of Oldenburg and Carlin Yoder of Middlebury, had expressed the same concerns.

Opponents of Senate Bill 207 have been the flooding phone lines and email inboxes of legislators. A group called IFIRE (Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform & Enforcement) argue that students who aren’t U.S. citizens have no right to the lower tuition rates.

The author of the 2011 law, Republican Rep. Mike Karickhoff of Kokomo, has moved on the issue in part. He said he supports the current language of Senate Bill 207, that covers the several hundred students enrolled in college when the ban went into effect. But he also blames the federal government for lack of action.

“I think the number of students affected by the bill highlights the gravity of the situation, and hopefully this will encourage the federal government to take a closer look at how long they’ve let this problem grow,” Karickhoff said in a statement.

“As long as this legislation is what’s best for Hoosiers, I will support it.” he said. “If it will benefit our economy and not hurt our citizens, I see no problem in allowing those already enrolled in college in Indiana to be grandfathered in with resident tuition. Hopefully our federal government will address this national problem.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
State News
  • nws-gb011714 Land Zeppelin 2 (front page pic) Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off GREENSBURG - A local civil engineer has created a Zeppelin-shaped apparatus that allows bicyclists to ride in the rain without getting wet. Greensburg resident Jim Gorman remembers the day that inspiration struck: Nov. 22, 2011. It rained all day, an

    January 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Legislator pushes for public disclosure of former meth homes INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Wendy McNamara knew methamphetamine was a scourge on her district in southwestern Indiana, but the damaging effects of the drug really hit her when she met a real estate appraiser who’d suffered lung damage after visiting a

    December 14, 2013

  • Bird statue to be unveiled in Terre Haute Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-pe

    November 5, 2013

  • news school bill.jpg Pence announces school safety grants

    Flanked by fourth-grade members of the Ambassadors Club and student council at Cedar Elementary School here, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grants for schools statewide to enhance their security.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coats returns home to listen to Hoosiers INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats returned home to Indiana this week, hoping to turn the political conversation away from a failed GOP strategy that partially shut down the federal government and toward what he sees as more critical issu

    October 24, 2013

  • Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

    Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

    On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

    October 1, 2013

  • Laws that carry automatic loss of driver's license under review INDIANAPOLIS -- The legislative study committee that proposed the massive rewrite of Indiana's felony code will soon take on another tough issue: The automatic penalty that causes thousands of Hoosiers to lose their driving privileges for committing

    September 19, 2013

  • Gingerich_AP PHOTO.jpg Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

    Three years ago, when 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became the youngest person in Indiana ever sent to prison as an adult, his story gained international attention and sparked questions about whether children belong behind bars with grown-up offenders.

    June 14, 2013 2 Photos

  • Supt_Ritz 1 .jpg Ritz orders independent analysis of ISTEP results

    Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • State won’t use free lunch program as poverty indicator

    Indiana is changing the way it counts low-income students in public schools because Republican legislators suspect fraud in the federal school-lunch program used to measure poverty.

    May 23, 2013