Rep. Todd Tiahrt
Rep. Todd Tiahrt

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Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) has introduced the Fairness for American Students Act (H.R.4548) that would close up a loophole that allows states to offer in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. The bill would also prevent federal funds going to public universities that offer in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens.

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), and Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) have cosponsored the legislation.

"U.S. citizens should not be forced to subsidize college tuition for illegal immigrants, and we should certainly never pay higher college tuition than someone in the country illegally," Rep. Tiahrt said. "Congressman Bilbray and I have worked hard to ensure the loophole is eliminated through this legislation."

Ten states currently offer in-state tuition to qualifying illegal aliens: California, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin and New York. Four states have passed laws strictly prohibiting offering in-state tuition.

"It is a disservice to deserving Americans - disproportionately native-born minorities and Americans from underprivileged backgrounds - who must pay out-of-state tuition rates or even forego college, while unlawfully present students may obtain a taxpayer-subsidized college education," NumbersUSA Founder and CEO Roy Beck said. "In dire economic times like these especially, the United States needs to ensure that any available dollars go toward educating and preparing American youth, both native-born and legal immigrant, so they can become successful, taxpaying citizens. The Tiahrt/Bilbray bill helps achieve this noble goal."

The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act prohibits illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition. Loopholes in the law, however, have allowed states to circumvent it.

"This bill will do much to reinforce the rule of law in immigration," immigration attorney and professor of law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kris Kobach said. "It will put teeth into the existing law, which doesn't carry a large enough penalty against states that disobey."

Interior Enforcement
In-State Tuition

Updated: Sun, Jan 31st 2010 @ 7:45am EST