Scott: Immigrant kids deserve 'same chance' as other students
Gov. Rick Scott was in Jacksonville Monday to meet with Duval County students, and used the event to call on senators to pass legislation that would grant in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.
The bill has passed the House, 81-33, with strong bipartisan support, but it is stalled in the Senate, where two of its most powerful members -- Senate President Don Gaetz and Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron -- remain opposed. A third influential senator, Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who's also Scott's campaign chairman, supports the bill.
"It's very important that the Senate pass Senate Bill 1400," Scott told reporters in Jacksonville, and then offered an impromptu endorsement of the immigrant tuition provision. "It also gives students that came here from another country -- they're not qualified for in-state tuition right now like their peers -- and it allows them to get in-state tuition, so they have the same chance that every other student has. It's very important that Senate Bill 1400 passes, and right now it's stalled in the Senate."
Scott said he also supports SB 1400 because it would prohibit the 15 percent discretionary tuition increases and cost of living tuition hikes at state universities -- increases that he said were "passed a few years ago under Charlie Crist."