Over the weekend, the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform sent out a panicked e-mail warning its supporters that at 1:30 today, the House Education Committee will be taking up the issue of Senate Bill 126.
The bill, which was passed by the Senate last Monday on a 20-13 vote, would extend in-state college tuition to all of Colorado's graduating high schoolers — including undocumented students.
CAIR takes a very conservative view of immigration reform. Here's a quick rundown of some of its talking points on the bill:
• The bill's drafters dramatically underestimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the state, and therefore the fiscal impact
• The bill would give undocumented immigrants "a financial advantage at the expense of American students" as there "are only so many admissions, so each illegal alien admitted would displace a qualified American student"
• Even if they get a degree, it will still be illegal for them to work (despite the fact that the bill states that students must apply for legal status in order to qualify)
• The bill will create an immigrant suck, attracting legions from Oklahoma, Arizona and Georgia with our "entitlements"
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Access Alliance is urging its supporters to show up at the hearing today to voice their support for the bill. HEAA points to the legislation's fiscal note that claims that it brings no extra cost to the state. Instead, the fiscal note estimates that it will be a boon to tuition revenue, bringing in an extra $770,715 to $1,284,525.
From the fiscal note:
Currently, U.S. citizens who graduate from a high school in Colorado following 3 years of attendance are eligible for the in-state tuition rate. Approximately 737 students without documentation of lawful residence will be eligible for the new tuition classification as a result of this bill; however, not all of these students will attend an institution of higher education. This fiscal note assumes that a minimum of 50 students will take advantage of the new benefit. Table 1 presents ranges of new tuition revenue based on an average resident tuition rate of $2,888 at community colleges and $5,737 at 4-year universities per semester.
So: If you're in Denver, or wanna go to Denver ... the meeting will be held in the old Supreme Court Chambers in the Capitol.