In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants Would Fill an Education Gap
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said the bill introduced by District of Columbia Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to allow undocumented immigrants who are D.C. residents to receive in-state tuition at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) fills a significant education gap. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive benefits from federal education programs. Norton said it makes sense to give them access to D.C. state university funding. She said that the local bill would also provide a new incentive for undocumented D.C. residents to graduate high school.
“Many of these undocumented residents will ultimately become American citizens through immigration reform or other efforts,” Norton said. “The District has also seen a recent surge in Central Americans immigrants, who have fled violence and gang crime. Giving them the opportunity to pursue a college degree will strengthen our community and grow our city’s economy. It is harmful to halt the progress of the education of these students, who under the constitution are entitled to a public education kindergarten through high school. If the bill is ultimately passed by the D.C. Council, I will strongly fight any attempt to overturn it in Congress.”
So far, Norton has kept a bill introduced this year by Representative Louis Gohmert (R-TX) aimed at D.C.’s undocumented immigrants from moving in Congress. The Gohmert bill seeks to overturn a local D.C. law that limits the circumstances under which the District can cooperate with federal immigration officials, including detention and gathering and disseminating information about a person’s immigration status.