Some individuals currently living in the Miami area are likely eagerly waiting to learn if legislators in the state will pass a law to make it possible for the children of undocumented immigrants to pay instate tuition for college. The legislation is necessary after a court ruling at the federal level rendered a year ago. The judge in that case determined that when it comes to tuition matters, it is the individual student who is relevant, not the household. More specifically, it is a violation of the student’s 14th Amendment to base the determination regarding residency on the student’s parents’ immigration status.
There appear to be three ways in which this may be accomplished. The first is via HB 51 which focuses strictly on the student’s residency and citizenship. If adopted, the second bill, SB 300, could potentially face the same issue that the current laws on the matter did. This is because to be eligible for in-state tuition under the bill, the student must have spent a minimum of three years in a high school in Florida. The newest bill, HB 205 was filed earlier this month.
At this point HB 51 appears to be the most promising, having been referred to three different committees. As the lawmakers work to determine how the state will become compliant, many students who are citizens of the U.S. but children of undocumented individuals are being charged out-of-state tuition.
Immigration matters can have a large impact on those living in the state of Florida. Because of this, when someone finds that they are facing this type of issue, it is usually in their best interest to work with an immigration attorney.
Source: The Florida Current, “Tuition bills are piling up,” James Call, Oct. 23, 2013