A bill that makes undocumented students in Connecticut eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges was passed Tuesday.
The state Senate approved the bill, a statewide version of the national DREAM Act that failed to pass Congress in December, by a vote of 21 to 14 over an eight-hour Republican filibuster, the Connecticut Mirror reported. In a press release, Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the bill as “common sense” and said he would sign it into law.
“At a time when we need to be helping our state’s young men and women prepare for an ever-changing economy and compete with their counterparts in China, Japan and elsewhere, helping to make a college degree more accessible and affordable for those students who choose to pursue one is critically important,” Malloy said in the release.
Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, citing its uncertain impact on the competition for spots in the state’s higher education system.
“Remember folks, when someone gets in, someone gets denied,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (R-Norwalk) said when the bill passed the House of Representatives 77 to 63, according to the Mirror.
The state legislature passed a similar bill in 2007, but Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed it. In her veto message, Rell argued that the bill would do nothing to address the underlying legal problems with students’ immigration status and that Connecticut should wait for federal immigration reform before enacting its own in-state tuition law. Furthermore, she argued, the bill would encourage circumvention of federal immigration law.
Unlike in-state tuition laws in the 12 other states that have them, the Connecticut bill requires students to have completed four years of high school in the state.