ACLU of Florida Celebrates Legislature Passing Tuition Equity Bill for Immigrant Students
Bill ends policy of requiring Florida DREAMers to pay out-of-state tuition rates 3 to 4 times higher than their classmates; Over 18,000 supporters signed petition calling for passage of bill
May 2, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed a tuition equity bill, HB 851, which ends the practice of requiring thousands of Florida students to pay out-of-state tuition – rates three to four times higher than in-state tuition rates – simply because of their immigration status.
ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said the following regarding the legislature’s passage of the bill:
"After years of effort, fairness in college tuition is finally on its way to the governor’s desk. This is a victory not only for the thousands of Florida students who are now being given a fair shot at the dream of a college education, but for every Floridian who will reap the benefits of a more fair higher education system and a smarter Florida workforce.
"The votes in the Senate yesterday and in the House today also mark a breaking down of the rigid political opposition that too many in the Florida Legislature have long held for anything that would benefit our state’s immigrant community. Florida’s immigrant community has for too long been used as a political punching bag, and that tide is finally turning. Tallahassee politicians have begun to recognize that Florida benefits when it is a welcoming place for everyone and when our state’s policies no longer discriminate against Florida’s immigrant community. We’d like to thank those leaders in the legislature, especially Senator Latvala, who challenged traditional political thought and forged a coalition standing up for fair opportunities for immigrant Floridians.
"Multiple groups including Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), and Reform Immigration For America (RI4A) joined ACLU supporters in calling for passage of tuition equity. Ultimately, over 18,000 people from across the state and throughout the U.S. signed a petition urging passage. The ACLU of Florida joins our coalition partners in celebrating a rare and hard-fought victory for freedom in the Florida legislature."
A press conference regarding passage of the bill will be held at 5:00pm today, May 2nd in front of the Freedom Tower at 600 Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami. ACLU of Florida spokesperson Carolina Gonzalez will be present and available to give comment to press.