NASHVILLE, March 19, 2018– While others are looking to pass in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, Representative Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) and Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) are fighting against it with their own bill, HB 2101/SB 2031, which is set to be heard this week in the House and Senate Education Committees.
Current federal law defines post secondary education assistance from state funds as a state benefit. Illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving a state benefit unless a state explicitly defines an exclusion. Current state law references the federal code, but does not codify post secondary assistance as a state benefit. Senator Green and Representative Terry are looking to clearly define that in-state tuition is a “state or local benefit” which will reaffirm that illegal immigrants are not eligible for in-state tuition in Tennessee.
“Tennesseans have made it abundantly clear that they do not want their tax dollars to subsidize college tuition for those who are in our country illegally,” Green stated. “Families across our state are struggling with the ever-rising costs of tuition, and the last thing they want to see is their tax dollars being used to pay tuition for illegal aliens.”
“In-state tuition only covers between 25-75 percent of the cost to provide the college education. Taxpayer funds support the rest. That is clearly a state benefit,” explained Terry. “Any attempt to exclude post secondary assistance in the definition of a state benefit is contrary to the facts and our bill will ensure taxpayers are protected.”
Though not specifically mentioned, Representative Terry’s comments allude to the current effort by other lawmakers to provide in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. That bill, HB 2429/ SB 2263, attempts to subvert federal and state law by exempting post secondary assistance from the definition of a state benefit.
(d) The exemption from paying the out-of-state tuition in this section affirmatively satisfies the express eligibility requirement of 8 U.S.C. § 1621(d).
“There are U.S. citizens who live out of state, but pay business or property taxes in Tennessee. They still must pay out of state tuition,” continued Terry. “We shouldn’t be incentivizing illegal immigrants to take advantage of Tennessee taxpayers when we don’t even provide a courtesy to Americans who are investing in our state.”
“It’s particularly outrageous for illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition while the child of an American veteran who lives in another state has to pay the full cost of tuition to attend our colleges and universities. As President Trump has made clear, it’s time to put America first,” concluded Green.
The bill is set to be heard on Tuesday in the House and Wednesday in the Senate. You can contact your representative or senator with the information on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website and ask for them to co-sponsor HB 2101/ SB 2031. http://www.capitol.tn.gov