Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott 'considers' backing in-state tuition for undocumented students

TALLAHASSEE — Facing a tough fight for re-election and needing stronger Hispanic support, Gov. Rick Scott says he'll "consider" offering cheaper in-state tuition to some Florida college students who are undocumented immigrants.

Scott tiptoed around the subject Wednesday in a meeting with the Legislature's Hispanic caucus, offering tepid responses on an emotionally charged issue as new Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera sat alongside.

"I'll certainly consider it," Scott said before pivoting to a favorite talking point, the cost of tuition. "I want all tuition to stop growing."

Scott, who favored an Arizona-style anti-immigration law when he ran for governor in 2010, risks alienating some conservative Republicans if he embraces in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. But Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, chairman of the Hispanic caucus, offered Scott some advice.

"The number of Hispanic voters is growing," Garcia said. "This administration needs to take that into account."

Scott angered Hispanics last year by vetoing a bill that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses in some cases. The bill passed the Legislature by an overwhelming margin.

Pressure is building on Scott to take a stand on in-state tuition because it is the Hispanic caucus' top priority and is supported by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

"I believe there's an injustice and an inequality for kids who are brought here based on no decision they ever made," Weatherford told the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau. "Right now there is a barrier for them furthering their education and I think that injustice should be rectified."

The proposal will face strong Senate resistance. In-state tuition is about one-third of the cost for non-residents and Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, used the example of "an American citizen living in Atlanta" having to pay higher tuition to send a child to a Florida university than for an undocumented immigrant.

"I don't think that would be fair," Negron said.

At the caucus meeting, two Hispanic legislators tried to pin down Scott on the issue, but he wouldn't take a stand.

"It's important to distinguish between children and people who are just breaking the law and coming to this country illegally," said Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami.

Florida International University and Miami-Dade College offer partial tuition waivers to students who are in President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That provides temporary deportation relief to young adults brought to the United States illegally as children.

No other Florida college or university offers the waivers, but students at USF and the University of Florida are lobbying their schools to follow suit.

Seventeen states offer in-state tuition to certain undocumented students.

The issue has been floated for 11 years in the Florida Legislature, and in 2012, while House majority leader, Lopez-Cantera did not push for the bill to be heard, even as two-dozen young people and farm workers staged a sit-in at his Capitol office.

Asked Wednesday how he voted on the issue as a House member, Lopez-Cantera said: "I haven't reviewed my voting record recently."

Contact Steve Bousquet at bousquet@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263.

Gov. Rick Scott 'considers' backing in-state tuition for undocumented students 02/05/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Monday, July 24

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    At 1.2 million gallons, the house of Harry Barkett in South Tampa used more water than anyone else in the Tampa Bay region between Jan. 1 and May 31 of this year, when Tampa was in a severe drought. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  2. Discovering the true meaning of Black Forest cake in the German region itself

    Cooking

    The first time I had a taste of the Black Forest, it wasn't by way of cake.

    Black Forest Cake in Germany was granted legally protected status in 2013. It must use the gateau’s original ingredients, including kirsch, a brandy made from fermented sour cherries from the region.
  3. Gov. Scott's tough talk on Venezuela may not turn into economic action

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — To show his solidarity with Venezuelans, Gov. Rick Scott held a rally in South Florida and repeatedly promised to punish companies that do business with the Nicolás Maduro regime.

    Gov. Rick Scott held a rally July 10 at El Arepazo restaurant to show solidarity with Venezuelans. Scott has said he wants to punish companies that work with the Nicol?s Maduro regime.
  4. Paralyzed patients in Florida fear losing health care at home

    Health

    TAMPA — After a 1999 car crash left Albert Hort paralyzed, he lived for a while in a nursing home.

    Albert Hort, 54, is a quadriplegic and receives care at his Tarpon Springs apartment, thanks to a special state program.
  5. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.