April 21, 2014
RE: In State Tuition for all Florida Residents
Is Good Public Policy
Senate Bill 1400
Dear Senate President Gaetz:
Florida Voices for Immigration Reform is a coalition of faith, business and law enforcement based in Palm Beach County, Florida which since 2009 has been acting as a bridge between Republicans and Democrats so that our Congress in a bi-partisan fashion can fix our antiquated immigration system and give our nation a system that promotes legal migration and makes us globally competitive for the 21st century. Please visit www.fvirpbc.com
for information about our coalition.
We have a population in our Country of about 11 million undocumented immigrants. Many are undocumented because there was no line to get behind. Many of those are children, brought to the United States by their parents, through no fault of their own. They have already been educated in our public schools and are unable to continue their studies for higher education because the out of state tuition is prohibitively expensive.
It is good public policy to allow these young Florida residents to be able to obtain in state tuition. There are about 175,000 students in this situation in Florida. We hope that Florida follows the lead of many States, like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington where in state tuition is already available to students all residents. We hope soon, that Congress will give our nation sensible immigration reform, which will give this population the ability to obtain legal status, yet while we wait for Congress to act, our State must invest in our future, since an educated work force is critical to economic growth in our State.
Experience in other states with in state tuition demonstrates that "such legislation does not deprive states of the revenue from large numbers of students who would otherwise pay out-of-state tuition. Rather, it raises the percentage of high school graduates who pursue a college degree and thus raises revenues for Florida colleges and universities. In state tuition is not free tuition." See National Immigration Law Center-Basic Facts about In State Tuition
"According to experts in states that have already passed this legislation, the cost of implementation was negligible". It is critical for the State of Florida to have an educated work force to remain competitive and we should not create obstacles to students we have already invested in from becoming the engineers, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs that they will only be able to become with higher education. We will not serve any good public policy by not passing in state tuition in Florida. Actually, we will hinder our State's ability to remain competitive in the 21st century by refusing in state tuition rates to this young students." Each person who attends college and obtains a professional job means one less drain on the social service (and possibly criminal justice) budgets of the state and an asset in terms of payment of taxes and the attraction to the state of high-wage employers seeking well-educated work force". See National Immigration Law Center, id
We urge the Senate to bring the in-state tuition bill to a vote and pass it since it is important for our State's future. We must support policies that allow a person to achieve his or her full potential, since education is the key to escaping poverty, and we must educate our youth to continue to make our country the exceptional nation that it is.
Gary Walk, Esq., Co-Chair, FVIR
Pastor Monica Delgado, Co–Chair, FVIR
Aileen Josephs, Esq., Co–Chair, FVIR