Broward News

Rick Scott Signs In-State Tuition Bill for Undocumented Students

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott signed the DREAM Act bill into law, which will allow in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants in Florida.

According to the bill, undocumented immigrants must meet a certain number of conditions to qualify that include attending a secondary school for at least three straight years before graduating from a Florida high school. After graduating high school, the law gives the student 24 months to apply to a college.

In a news release sent out by Scott on Monday morning, the governor calls giving access to higher learning to all Floridians one of his top priorities.

"Signing this historic legislation today will keep tuition low, and allow all students who grew up in Florida to have the same access to affordable higher education," Scott says in the statement. "With this legislation, higher education became more affordable and more accessible to all Floridians."

House Speaker Will Weatherford also chimed in saying via the news release, "The dreams of many individuals looking to further their education are now within reach. I thank Governor Scott for giving all of Florida's children a chance to succeed. This is a proud and historic moment for Florida."

Of course, not all are fans of this move by the governor.

A group calling itself Floridians for Immigration Enforcement tired to derail the bill back in March, saying that the law would provide "more benefits for illegal aliens while immigration laws are still so blatantly not enforced."

Citing a House of Representatives staff analysis to show how it is unknown how much the DREAM Act will cost to subsidize college tuition for illegal aliens, the group claimed that a large number of legal students would be displaced from college by illegal alien students.

"There is absolutely no estimate of the fiscal cost of college tuition subsidy for illegal aliens," the group claimed.

At one point, the bill seemed to be dead in the water, with clear and open opposition coming from Republican Sen. Joe Negron and Senate President Don Gaetz, both of whom voted down the bill at one point.

But other Republican leaders, such as Weatherford and Sen. John Thrasher, are siding with Scott.

"At a time when Florida's economy is experiencing an incredible recovery, it is crucial to focus on the young Floridians who will someday lead our state," Thrasher said via a news release Monday. "The governor's decision to sign this legislation will provide our students with the opportunities to succeed in the classroom and the workforce."

You cYou can read the bill below:

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.
Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph