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Effort Renewed In Florida To Grant Children Of Immigrants In-State Tuition

Florida Senate/Florida House
Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) and Representative Victor Torres (D-Orlando)

A couple of Florida lawmakers are renewing a push to give children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition at public universities.

Miami Senator Dwight Bullard and Orlando Representative Victor Torres are the bill’s authors. It’s Bullard’s fourth time filing the bill—twice in the House, and now twice in the Senate. Torres has his name on the bill for the first time—a bill he says is about prosperity for future generations.

“We have such a diverse community that I feel that this is something that is needed. And, it’s not about illegal immigrants. It’s about children, about bettering their lives, an issue of economics and community fairness," said Torres.

Torres notes there is a bar students must clear to qualify -- they must have completed three years of Florida high school and earned a diploma.

“We’ve had children that come here and all they have to finish up is three years. But, at least, if they show that they’re attending school for three years consecutively, then this will show they have a desire to finish up their education,” added Torres.

A similar effort that failed last year would have changed state law to mirror a federal court ruling that concluded the state could not charge higher tuition rates to Florida residents who are U.S. citizens, but whose parents are illegal immigrants. It passed the House, but died in the Senate.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.