The Florida state legislature sparked controversy recently when it struck down a bill that would have allowed U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rate like all other Florida residents.
Lawmakers voted to kill the bill despite emotional testimonies from several college students, including 20-year-old Carla Montes. Montes described how she cried for three days after being denied in-state tuition because her undocumented parents couldn’t afford the out-of-state tuition rate, which is three times higher. Under U.S. law, children born in the country to undocumented immigrants are American citizens, called “birthright citizenship.”
Unmoved, Republican legislators interrupted Montes multiple times as she told her story, attempting to refute the notion that their ruling was unfair.
“As a U.S.-born American citizen I can vote, I pay taxes, I attended school in Florida, ” Montes told the committee.
“No, no, no, we’re talking about your parents,” barked Sen. Steve Oelrich. “That’s how we establish residency in the state of Florida, by the status of your parents.”
Montes shot back: “With all respect, the person who is sitting in the classroom, the person who’s giving back to this economy is me, not my parents.”
— Via CampusProgress