While lawmakers talk tough on border security, little has been done to destroy a major magnet created nearly 15 years ago that entices illegal immigrants to the state: subsidized tuition to public universities.
Under the terms of a law passed in early 2001, illegal aliens are allowed to receive “in-state tuition” at the state’s public universities – the same discounted tuition rate offered to Texas residents — giving them a cheaper education than is available for U.S. citizens and legal residents from other states. That “cheaper” education comes from tax dollars paid by Texas taxpayers.
The inaction by state lawmakers to repeal the program has drawn intense criticism from Republican voters. At the 2016 Texas GOP Convention, more than 95 percent of delegates registered their opposition to the practice, demanding that lawmakers repeal in-state tuition for illegals..
Taxpayers have a good reason to be angry. Despite Republicans controlling the legislature for more than a decade, repeal efforts have fallen flat in both chambers. For session after session, the coalition government led by House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) made it clear that attempts to end the subsidy for illegal immigrants would be killed.
Many conservative lawmakers proposed legislation addressing the problem, including State Rep. Jonathan Stickland of Bedford (who was also the first legislator to propose such legislation for the 2017 session). Those measures died at the hands of State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), who refused to even grant them a hearing on the issue. Cook is a known illegal immigrant sympathizer who has also killed legislation banning sanctuary cities that harbor criminal illegal immigrants and authored measures to give illegal immigrants drivers’ licenses.
Reform efforts have also stalled in the Texas Senate where a handful of Republican lawmakers have joined with Democrats in opposing repeal and prevented the measure from even being debated on the floor.
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