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Students Rally At Gaetz's Office In Support Of Immigrant Education Bill

Members of Students for a Democratic Society talk with Don Gaetz.

A group of Florida university students are calling on Senate President Don Gaetz to allow a vote on a bill giving children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition. Students for a Democratic Society members traveled from across the state to rally in front of Gaetz’s office Monday morning.

Florida State University student Andrew Arachikavitz says his group still has hope the bill can get to the floor. That’s despite the bill’s being removed from its final committee agenda.

“There is so much public support, just within the Senate itself for the bill, that it is beyond reasonable doubt that if it were put to the floor it would pass,” Arachikavitz says.

Arachikavitz was among more than 25 students from FSU, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida urging Gaetz to allow the bill to have a floor hearing. During a meeting with the students, Gaetz reiterated his personal opposition to the bill.

“So, I can’t make a commitment to you about what will happen on the Senate floor,” Gaetz says. “I can tell you have the same position on the bill that I’ve had for the last six months: I will vote against it on the floor and my expectation is that I will be in the minority.”

The proposal has already cleared the House. Its Senate sponsor has said he has the votes to get the bill through the Senate. But, the fate of the bill was thrown into jeopardy last week when Senate Appropriations Chair Joe Negron bumped it from his committee agenda.

*Correction: Andrew Arachikavitz, not Arachi Kavitz, is a student at Florida State University.

Donald DeBevoise is originally from Winter Park, Florida and now studies English and economics at Florida State University. He is a member of the Society for Collegiate Journalists at FSU. Donald also writes for a student-based magazine called The Last Word. He aspires to enter the journalism field upon graduating. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, hiking and jogging.