April 25, 2012

(Denver) – For the sixth time, a bill to expand access to college for children of undocumented students in Colorado was killed in committee in the Republican-controlled House.

SB12-015, sponsored in the House by two Denver Democrats, Reps. Crisanta Duran and Angela Williams, was killed on a 7-6 party-line vote in the House Finance Committee.

The bill would have created a third tier of tuition rates, between the most affordable in-state level and the higher out-of-state level, for undocumented students living in Colorado, graduating from high school in Colorado and seeking to attend state colleges and universities in Colorado. To qualify, students would have to seek United States citizenship.

“Once again, the House Republicans have dashed the dreams of Colorado students who work hard and deserve access to the American Dream,” Rep. Duran said. “I am disappointed in the way this bill was killed on a party-line vote, but I remain hopeful. The GOP will never be successful in halting progress, only in delaying it. I am proud to say the Democrats are on the right side of history in this debate.”

Most of the estimated 500 students who would have benefited from the bill each year were brought to this country as children by their parents and have been going to school in Colorado for years.

“Children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents,” said former Denver Mayor Guillermo Vidal, who testified on behalf of the bill.

“This bill raises $4 million for our institutions of higher education without costing the taxpayers a dime, and allows hundreds of Colorado kids to earn a degree,” Rep. Williams said. “People with college degrees are more prepared to compete in the global economy, and in this economic recovery we should be creating more opportunities for our students, not fewer.”

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