A new bill introduced in the State Senate is stirring up controversy. If passed, the legislation would allow illegal immigrants to pay in–state tuition. 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler takes a look at both sides of the debate.
Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Denver Democratic Senator Chris Romer, would allow undocumented students who earned their GED or graduated from a Colorado high school in–state tuition at Colorado colleges and universities.
At Mesa State College, in–state tuition and fees for a year is just over $4,200 and out of state tution is more than $11,700--a difference of more than $7,500.
Senator Romer says that savings would help with a growing problem of Latino dropouts.
"Ultimately we need to get some immigration reform to make sure that they become citizens as well but we want to make sure they learn English, we want them to get good grades and we want an educated workforce," Romer told 11 News over the phone.
He says many of those children have been living here their whole lives and should not be punished for their parents decisions.
"I disagree that we're giving them anything they don't deserve because we're just letting them pay the exact same tuition price that their other friends in high school are."
But not everyone agrees. Opponents of the bill, including State Representative Steve King see it another way.
"I hear often from that side of the aisle do it for the children, what about our children?" King told 11 news.
King says it's not a place the state should be putting resources, especially in a tight economy.
"The timing is wrong, the bill is wrong."
Senator Romer introduced the bill on Tuesday and says it should be assigned to the Education Committee in a few weeks.
To read the complete bill, click on the link below.