20th May 2015
Hartford, Ct. – Connecticut Democratic Party spokesman Leigh Appleby released the following statement in response to the House GOP’s unified opposition last night to a bill that would provide in-state tuition to Connecticut students regardless of immigration status. This is just the latest proposal offered by Democrats that would improve quality of life, strengthen our communities, and help make our residents more productive that Republicans have opposed.
“House Republicans showed their true colors last night, taking their cues from their party’s newly endorsed candidate Marco Rubio and turning their backs on some of our most vulnerable neighbors in the face of pressure from the right-wing base of their party. Leveling the playing field for undocumented students not only increases upward mobility for those students and makes our communities fairer and safer, but it saves money and helps our economy in the long run. Yet every single House Republican voted against it.
“They always say they want to put ‘people over politics.’ Instead, House GOP members are putting politics first and caving to their party’s right-wing base. Yet again, this is shortsighted, ineffective governance from the Republican Party.”
Ironically, this opposition took place on the very day that over 4 million immigrants should have been able to apply for temporary relief from deportation through DAPA, which was part of President Obama’s plan to keep immigrant families together. Instead, it was blocked by – you guessed it – the Republican Party.
The Connecticut Mirror reports the following quotes from GOP legislators:
“You’re making it easier for someone to come and take the spot of our constituents. I quite frankly think that’s wrong,” said Rep. Christopher Davis, R-Ellington.
“What this bill is doing is inviting individuals to move into our state,” said Rep. Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford. “They are going to compete [for a seat in college] with our children that have been here all their lives.”
“It seems to me that in order for them to make up that shortfall, the number one goal would be to get full-paying students as opposed to increasing the number of discounted [price] students,” said Rep. Whit Betts, R-Bristol.
“There is not going to be enough money,” Sen. Rob J. Kane, R-Watertown. “Someone is going to get bumped… I think what we are doing is hurting Connecticut residents.”
Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, said he also believed extending aid to undocumented immigrants conflicts with federal law.
“I am confused why the Connecticut General Assembly is doing this when the federal law clearly says we can’t,” said McLachlan. “This flies in the face of federal law.”
But Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has testified that legislators could allow financial assistance by changing state law.
“Although federal law permits states to offer undocumented students certain forms of state-funded financial assistance, to do so states must first enact state laws authorizing students to seek and receive financial aid,” said Jepsen, who supports such a change in law.