Political Notes Friday May 23, 2003

"Arroyo supports immigrants access to higher education

At-Large Boston City Councilor Felix D. Arroyo submitted a resolution recently supporting undocumented immigrants rights to access higher education.

The City Council resolution supports amending state law to allow immigrants who lack legal status to attend Massachusetts public higher education institutions at in-state tuition rates and urges the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass An Act Relating to the Eligibility of Certain Persons to Qualify as Residents of this State for Purposes of Higher Education Tuition. (SB 237).

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Marie St. Fleur and Sen. Jarrett Barrios in the state Legislature, would allow immigrant students graduating from high school to access resident tuition when they attend public higher education institutions provided they have resided in the state for a number of years and gone through the Massachusetts school system.

At a recent Boston City Council hearing convened by the Committee of New Bostonians, testimony was taken from undocumented and legal immigrants, immigrant advocacy organizations, local labor unions and others, with the majority indicating support for state legislation to amend Massachusetts's law to allow immigrants who lack legal status to attend Massachusetts colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates.

Currently, immigrant students, many who have been here nearly their entire lives, find out they are undocumented upon applying to universities. It is Arroyo's conviction that these children shouldn't be penalized for decisions beyond their control. Many other states have passed similar measures, including Texas, Utah, California and New York.

Co-sponsors are councilors Turner and Yancey."

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