February 13, 2012
By Cal Knickerbocker on February 13, 2012 10:10 AM |

While federal efforts to fix our broken immigration system remain largely ineffective, at the state level, legislators are becoming proactive in expanding opportunity for all, both immigrant and native-born. Across the country, a growing and diverse number of forward-thinking state legislators are abandoning unproductive and economically unsound approaches taken by states such as Arizona and Alabama. Instead they are advancing inventive policies that make economic sense for states' bottom lines and uphold their reputations. One such approach, tuition equity, continues to gain political and popular support and build momentum in statehouses across the country.
Under current federal law, states have the option to enact laws that grant the same access to higher education for undocumented students as their U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident classmates. Fourteen states have already enacted such laws with several more poised to move this year. Only a month into the 2012 session, pro-active legislators have already introduced bills to increase access to higher education in five states including Colorado, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey and New York.
Tuition equity laws expand educational access for undocumented and non-resident students but, importantly, also increase the revenue stream for state university systems--expanding the resources available for all students at a time when budget crunches loom. In Colorado, for example, proposed tuition equity bills will bring in over $2.8 million in increased tuitions within the state university systems next year.
So now the "push" of economics at the state and local levels may accomplish what our mired down Federal government representatives cannot and or will not tackle and solve. For documented or undocumented immigrants wanting to integrate into and contribute to the good 'ole USA this will become an increasing necessity as well as a benefit to the country at large with a projected two thirds of the projected areas of job growth requiring a college degree...more later.