Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has introduced a bill that would put illegal immigrants at the back of the line when it comes to receiving in-state tuition benefits at colleges.
Federal policy prevents states from granting post-secondary education benefits to illegal immigrants on the basis of residency, yet 15 states have found a loophole in the law to allow illegal immigrant students to qualify for in-state tuition rates with alternative criteria, such as graduation from an in-state high school. In addition, three states allow illegal immigrant students to qualify for state financial aid.
“Some of our nation’s highest unemployment rates are among recent college graduates, and we should be supporting policies that help American students get an opportunity to go to college and compete for good jobs,” said Vitter. “American students should always come first. Too many states are blatantly disregarding the spirit of existing immigration law, which could end up putting illegal immigrants ahead of American citizens.”
The legislation says “an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for any postsecondary education benefit unless every citizen and national of the United States is eligible to receive such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope).”
The bill would be enforced by students taking violators to civil court.
“Any citizen or national of the United States who is enrolled at a postsecondary educational institution in the United States that is alleged to have violated subsection (a) may petition the district court of the United States in which such institution is located to enforce the restriction described in such subsection by commencing a civil action, on his or her own behalf, in such court against any State official that oversees such institution.”
Vitter recently announced that he’s running for governor of Louisiana in 2015.