In-state tuition for childern of undocumeted immigrants back on the table
Time: 3:40 PM
Since this was passed by the General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Rell, hopefully with a Democratic governor at the helm, the dream of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants will finally become a reality in Connecticut.
On the heels of an ambitious city program to help New Haven kids afford college, Democratic politicians vowed to even the playing field for undocumented students like Lorella Praeli.
Praeli (pictured) a 22-year-old originally from Peru, came “out of the shadows” for the first time Thursday to announce that she is living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She said she was lucky enough to land a full ride to Quinnipiac University through a private scholarship. Otherwise, she would have had to pay three times the rate of in-state tuition at an in-state college or university.
At a press event at Southern Connecticut State University, members of New Haven’s state legislative delegation pledged to help students like Praeli by passing a bill next session that would grant in-state tuition to all Connecticut residents who graduate from state high schools, regardless of immigration status. State Sen. Martin Looney, state Rep.-elect Roland Lemar, and state Reps. Gary Holder-Winfield and Juan Candelaria all attended the event in support of the legislation.
In the current system, undocumented immigrant students have to pay out-of-state tuition rates that are three times higher than in-state rates at public Connecticut universities and colleges. For example, most of Praeli’s friends ended up at the University of Connecticut, where in-state tuition is $8,000. Praeli would have had to pay $24,500.
Eleven states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who can prove residency, according to Looney. The legislature approved a bill in 2007, but it was vetoed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He said it was “pointless” to try again while Rell was still in office.
Now, with the first Democrat elect to the governor’s seat in 24 years, the prospects have changed.
Gov.-elect Dan Malloy “would sign a bill that grants in-state tuition to any graduate from a Connecticut high school living in the state,” said his spokeswoman, Colleen Flanagan.
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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.