Rell vetoes in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrant kids

Wednesday June 27, 2007

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have extended favorable in-state college tuition rates at Connecticut colleges and universities to children of illegal immigrants.

Rell said that while she is sympathetic to the plight of the students, they are living in the U.S. illegally and she does not want to encourage people to circumvent federal immigration laws.

"I understand these students are not responsible for their undocumented status, having come to the U.S. with their parents," Rell said in a written statement. "The fact remains, however, that these students and their parents are here illegally and neither sympathy nor good intentions can ameliorate that fact."

The bill passed the Senate 21-15. It passed the House of Representatives 77-68, making it doubtful the Democratic majority will attempt to override the veto.

Rell said the legislation does not address the fact that the students are not legal residents.

"The requirement that students file an application to legalize their status, would in essence, be notification to the government that they are here illegally and it would greatly increase the likelihood that they would be deported," Rell said. In her veto letter, the governor said the legislation could encourage even more undocumented aliens to move to the state.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, said the legislation requires a student to have lived in the state and graduated from a Connecticut high school.

"We're not talking about somebody who just got off a bus and popped into the state without legal status and now wants some benefit," he said. "We're talking about someone who has made a commitment to the state."

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