Dear Joe and Iguana Staff:
Casualties of this country’s dysfunctional immigration system are the dependent children (those born here and those brought here) of undocumented parents. Fortunately, due to Supreme Court law, all children, regardless of status, are entitled to public education from kindergarten through high school. However, what happens when these children want to attend a community college, state college or university is an injustice in Florida. Even if they have lived in the state for years, they are currently ineligible for in-state tuition and must pay out-of-state rates, making post-secondary education prohibitively expensive. Many of these children have earned high grades, done community service and would make great tax-paying employees of our state if given the chance to afford and attend college. In the upcoming Florida state legislative session starting in March, the issue of in-state tuition for these children will most likely be brought up again. Twelve states currently allow in-state tuition for undocumented students. Three in fact (Texas, New Mexico and California) provide state financial aid as a further boost. New York is considering the same. New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver said, “They know no other country, they came as infants, they should have equal access. It’s about fairness.”
I urge you to contact your house and state representatives (www.myfloridahouse.gov and www.flsenate.gov/senators/find) and encourage them to support in-state tuition for undocumented children.
President, Harvest of Hope Foundation, Gainesville, FL