Illinois Senate bills benefiting undocumented students called 'an affront to every American citizen'
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-42) of Wheaton has called two recent Senate bills that would benefit undocumented students at Illinois' public colleges and universities "an affront to every American citizen."
Senate Bill 2204 allows non-citizens to serve as student trustees at public universities. It passed the House and Senate last week and is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature.
"Since when do we give voting rights to non-citizens, let alone students with only six months residency in our state?" Iveson said. "I am appalled that this legislation passed."
Senate Bill 2196, which would provide state-funded financial assistance to undocumented students, is still being considered by the House.
Under current law, undocumented students are not eligible for federal student financial aid. It does, however, permit undocumented students to receive in-state tuition provided the students attend an Illinois high school for three years, graduate from an Illinois high school and apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as they are able to.
According to the sponsor of SB 2196, the bill's purpose is to ensure eligible undocumented students have equal access to the same educational and career opportunities afforded to other citizens of the state of Illinois.
If SB 2196 becomes law, Illinois would join six other states - California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington - that give undocumented students access to state-funded financial aid. Sixteen states - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington - offer in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.
"This legislation along with SB 2196, (which) gives people here illegally access to all ... taxpayer-funded assistance for higher education, flies in the face of commonsense," Ives said. "Every legislator who voted for this nonsense should be held accountable by the citizens of Illinois."