To take a step back and view the big picture: Of 1.3 million college students in Texas in 2010, 1.2 percent (16,476) were [undocumented] immigrants receiving tuition breaks through the affidavit route. (The even bigger picture: Texas’ 1.65 million [undocumented] immigrants made up 6.7 percent of the state’s total population in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.)
Stated another way, only 1 percent of Texas’ [undocumented] immigrants got the in-state rates in 2010. And of those, 73 percent got an average reduction of $2,600 or less; the remaining 27 percent average closer to $10,000 per year.
So let’s return to Romney’s statement: "Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien (and) go to the University of Texas."
For the 612 affidavit students at the University of Texas last year, Romney’s figure of $22,000 per year is approximately correct, even a bit low; but quadrupling the real average adds up to $90,800 over four years, not $100,000.
Not only is that UT tuition break the very highest that Romney could have cited among Texas public universities, it went to only 4 percent of the [undocumented] immigrants who received in-state tuition rates last year.
The vast majority of affidavit students in Texas last year got an average in-state tuition reduction of $1,600 to $2,600. If they got that rate for four years, the total "discount" would be $6,400 to $10,400. And that group of 12,028 community college affidavit students made up less than 1 percent of the 1,364,911 college students enrolled in Texas last year.
Romney’s $100,000 figure is only $9,200 off the mark for the University of Texas, but with 73 percent of affidavit students receiving $10,400 or less over four years, his choice to use UT as an example gives a skewed representation of the reality of [undocumented] immigrants seeking college education in Texas.
Want to pay in-state tuition at the University of Texas? Move to Texas, pay taxes and graduate in the top 10% of your high school class.
Governor Rick Perry has been criticized for signing the 2001 Texas law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Texas state universities. Mitt Romney expressed outrage that undocumented students receive in-state tuition when U.S. citizens from other states do not -- a benefit he claims is worth nearly $100,000 in 4 years at the University of Texas.
Mitt, there is a simple solution for U.S. citizens who want to attend the University of Texas and pay in-state tuition. They can move to Texas, graduate in the top 10% of their high school class and pay taxes here like the undocumented Texas high school graduates you want to deprive of an education.
What does the Texas DREAM Act do?
Undocumented immigrants with a Texas high school diploma or GED who have lived in Texas for at least 3 years may qualify for in-state tuition if they sign an affidavit saying they intend to apply for permanent residence as soon as they can.
From 2002 to 2010, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 35,200 students used the affidavit method to attend Texas colleges or universities at in-state tuition rates. The annual number of beneficiaries rose from 733 in 2002 to 16,476 in 2010. "Affidavit" students pay far less than what they would pay as non-residents. On average in 2011, a non-resident, full-time student would be expected to pay an estimated $17,000 in tuition and fees while a Texas resident would pay $7,200.
Non-residents can qualify for in-state tuition by establishing and maintaining a domicile in Texas for 1 year.
Requiring undocumented students to pay non-resident tuition would cost Texas universities money.
A law was proposed in the 2011 legislative session that would have required undocumented students to pay non-resident tuition. The Higher Education Coordinating Board estimated that almost 20,000 students would be affected by the change, and calculated that the state's institutions of higher learning would suffer a net loss of almost $92 million in tuition in fiscal year 2016 alone.
Undocumented students and their families pay Texas taxes
Unlike U.S. citizens who reside in other states, undocumented students and their families pay taxes in Texas. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates that Texas households headed by an undocumented immigrant paid over $1.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.
Denying undocumented students in-state tuition rates won't save taxpayer money because they contribute to the tax base and to the economy. Better educated immigrants can contribute more to the economy and the tax base in Texas.
Undocumented students were brought to Texas as children and excelled in education in Texas. Allowing them to attend Texas universities as the residents they are is an excellent investment. It benefits the state, the universities and the students.
Last week, a task force created to study DHS’ controversial “Secure Communities” initiative issued a report listing a series of recommendations to improve the program. Among other proposals, the task force recommended that federal authorities standardize the use of prosecutorial discretion around the country, make the program more transparent, and decline to initiate deportation proceedings against immigrants who have not been convicted of serious crimes or otherwise pose a threat to public safety. As of yesterday, those recommendations are one step closer actual implementation as the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) voted to approve the task force’s findings and submit them for further consideration to DHS leadership, including Secretary Janet Napolitano. While HSAC agreed (almost) unanimously to submit the recommendations to DHS, the committee was careful to characterize the findings as a good first step rather than a cure to problems with Secure Communities.
When he was attacked for offering in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants, Perry started by explaining at length his work to secure the border, then accused opponents of "having no heart" for wanting to keep kids who had ended up in Texas through no fault of their own away from an education. He said in no uncertain terms that he still stood by his decision. He also expressed his support for Arizona's extra-tough immigration laws, despite the fact that he has consistently said they wouldn't work in Texas.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has railed against the Obama administration for failing to adequately invest in border security in Texas. At the Fox News Google debate in Orlando Sept. 22, 2011, he took it a step further, saying "the federal government has not engaged in (border security) at all."
We were under the impression (as is the state of Texas) that the U.S. government is responsible for protecting the nation's borders, so this caught us by surprise.
* * *
With more U.S. agents than ever patrolling the U.S. border — most of them in the Southwest — we've got to say, Governor, your own boots might be at risk. Because we rate your statement Pants on Fire.
I met a woman today who had been to the Texas Department of Public Safety to renew her driver's license. They told her that the Legal Permanent Resident card that she was issued years ago with no expiration date could not be used to renew her Texas Driver's License. In order to renew her Driver's License, they told her that she must obtain a new permanent resident card that must be renewed every 10 years.
This is wrong. DPS is refusing documentation that is acceptable to Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
Tea Party leaders confronted Rick Perry in his own back yard Monday, calling on him to use his power as Texas governor to crack down on illegal immigration.
The activists, representing Tea Party groups from around the state, want Perry to either sign an executive order or call the Legislature back into a special session to enact a ban on so-called sanctuary cities. They also want him to eliminate a policy that they say discourages the state police from enforcing federal immigration laws.
After holding a press conference about it at the Capitol, the group delivered petitions from more than 3,000 Texans who want the governor to act now.
"Gov. Perry needs to clarify his position on illegal immigration, and he needs to come back to Texas and to finish the people's unfinished business," said JoAnn Fleming, chair of the Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee of the Texas Legislature. "The ball is in Gov. Perry's court. He needs to make a decision. He's running out of time."
In mocking tones, Fleming threw Perry's signature phrase "fed up" — the title of his Washington-bashing book — right back at the governor. "We're fed up, too, Gov. Perry, and we're ready for you to take care of this issue," she said.
Breaching Borders: State Encroachment into the Federal Immigration Domain? October 20-21, 2011 Sponsored by the Washburn University School of Law Center for Law and Government and the Washburn Law Journal http://washburnlaw.edu/breachingborders
Washburn Law is pleased to host a symposium exploring the political and legal controversies mounting at the intersection of federal and state immigration law. Three plenary sessions will provide a comparative assessment of state immigration policies, explore immigration and employment, and re-visit the concept of birthright citizenship.
Speakers and panelists include:
- Kris W. Kobach, Secretary of State for Kansas; - Nora V. Demleitner, Dean and Professor of Law, Hofstra University School of Law; - Peter H. Schuck, Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law, Yale Law School; - Margaret Stock, Adjunct Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Political Science; - Peter S. Vincent, Principal Legal Advisor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).