TOPEKA — A bill that would repeal in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants cleared a major legislative hurdle Monday.
The Kansas House voted 69-49 to approve the bill, which would repeal a law the Legislature passed in 2004.
“We had an election in November, and we have a group of folks who see things differently,” said Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican and one of the bill’s sponsors.
The law grants in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants who graduate from a Kansas high school and pledge that they intend to become citizens. Last fall, 413 students — including 84 at Johnson County Community College — received the benefit while studying at state universities or junior colleges.
Several unsuccessful attempts have been made in recent years to repeal the law. But with conservatives seizing more seats in the Legislature during the last election, repeal efforts gained new momentum.
The bill now goes to the Kansas Senate, where Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said the bill would have a tougher time.
“The Senate has never shown much interest in repealing that in the past. I assume that’s still the case,” Morris said.
The debate over in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants is unfolding across the nation. Since 2001, 11 states, including Kansas, have allowed in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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