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Undocumented students may benefit from Florida legislation

The state of Florida is home to a large number of undocumented immigrant minors who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. Child immigrants are afforded the right to enroll in public schools up until the end of high school. However, when it comes time to go to college, undocumented students are not entitled to receive in-state tuition rates at almost any of Florida's universities. Miami Dade College and Florida International University are the only two schools in South Florida that give tuition waivers to undocumented immigrants, allowing them to pay the same amount as students who are legal state residents.

The program through which students are able to obtain tuition waivers is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Florida Legislature may soon approve a measure that would extend similar benefits to undocumented students throughout the state, provided that the students meet certain criteria. Governor Rick Scott has indicated that he would sign the law if the bill is passed so long as it includes specific conditions.

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement oppose the bill, saying that by making it easier for undocumented immigrants to attend public colleges, some equally-qualified legal residents will be precluded from attending. Officials at Miami Dade College believe that a young student's potential should not be stifled because of how they came to be living in the U.S. or on account of an immigration status over which they had no control.

Undocumented students and workers who face legal or emotional hardships in their place of work or school on account of their status as an immigrant may want to consult with an immigration attorney. Immigration attorneys may protect a person's right to fair treatment, and they may also help those who are being threatened with deportation.

Source: WPTV , "Undocumented student goes to great lengths to pursue college education", Michael Williams , April 16, 2014

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