Republicans Join Democrats To Force Vote On In-State Tuition For Students In County Illegally

On Monday, the Arizona House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 1044. The resolution allows voters to decide if students who are in the country illegally but have attended for two years and graduated from an Arizona high school can be eligible for in-state college tuition.

SCR 1044 also exempts post-secondary education from the definition of a state or public benefit. Currently, Arizona residents who do not have legal immigration status do not qualify to receive those benefits.

Last week, Republican State Reps. Michelle Udall and Joel John forced a vote on the resolution by joining all House Democrats. Republicans Rep. David Cook and Rep. Joanne Osborne joined the group later and voted in favor of the matter. The move shifted power away from the Republican Caucus momentarily, but left a deep division.

Speaker Rusty Bowers expressed his disappointment in the tactic employed by Udall and John before casting his vote against the measure:

The measure will now go before the Arizona voters on a ballot in 2022.

The ballot initiative would repeal a 15-year-old ban on in-state tuition for undocumented high school graduates, including about 2,000 Dreamers per year. Voters created that ban in 2006 when they approved Proposition 300, which denies public benefits to those not in the country legally, including reduced cost tuition.