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Colorado university favors illegal immigrants over citizens

By   /   December 20, 2012  /   7 Comments

By Melanie Gray | Colorado Watchdog

DENVER — Former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo is backing off a threat to sue a Colorado university over a policy of reduced tuition for illegal immigrants, who would pay less than some U.S. citizens.

Tom Tancredo

Tancredo dropped plans to file the lawsuit against Metropolitan State University of Denver, but he now wants to use a speaking tour to start a grassroots movement for immigration reform, his signature issue during a 2008 GOP bid for the White House.

U.S.-born students, afraid of retaliation by school officials, refused to sign on to the class-action lawsuit.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th District in the House for a decade, decided to challenge Metro State in court after university board members reduced the cost for undocumented students about six months ago. The trustees acted after the Colorado Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have given a tuition break to illegal immigrants at all state colleges and universities.

Undocumented students at Metro State pay $7,157 an academic year — tuition rates are $15,985 for out-of-state students and $4,304 for in-state students. To qualify for the reduced rate, undocumented students must have lived in Colorado at least three years, have a high school diploma or a GED and be in good legal standing except for their immigration status, according to university spokeswoman Cathy Lucas.

Two weeks after Metro State’s decision, state Attorney General John Suthers issued an opinion declaring the new rate illegal under state law and saying only the General Assembly can change the statute.

Suthers’ ruling was Tancredo’s impetus to sue Metro State, but the former Republican needed a plaintiff — a U.S.-born out-of-state student paying the highest rate.

Using an ad in Metro State’s campus newspaper, Tancredo tracked down at least half a dozen potential plaintiffs, but the students ultimately refused to be party to any legal action because they feared repercussions from the university.

“And I couldn’t say it wouldn’t happen,” he said.

The students did not respond to a request for comment by Colorado Watchdog.

Metro State believes the reduced tuition benefits all Coloradoans, not just its undocumented students. Of the university’s 23,000 students, about 240 who registered for fall classes qualified for the reduced tuition rate, Lucas said.

“The trustees believe, and research has shown, that a well-educated workforce benefits society and the economy,” Lucas told Colorado Watchdog.

A statement on the university’s website details those benefits: additional tax revenue, reduced crime rates and a better quality of life.

REDUCED RATES: Metro State University wants to give illegal immigrants cheaper tuition rates than citizens.

About the same time that Metro State changed its tuition structure, the White House issued a two-year moratorium on deportations of undocumented students brought into the country illegally by their parents, and subsequently allowed them to apply for temporary legal status and work permits. The students, however, do not qualify for federal benefits and receive no guarantee they can enroll in colleges or receive in-state tuition if allowed to attend.

The policy change, coupled with the re-election of President Obama and the GOP’s loss of the Colorado statehouse, makes what Tancredo acknowledges as a much longer road to immigration reform.

Nearly three out of four Hispanic voters cast their ballots for Obama, making even the staunchest Republicans realize they must court the nation’s largest minority group if they want to return to power — both in Washington and across the country. The Colorado Republican Party did not respond to two requests for comment.

Tancredo sees both parties as unwilling to stem the flow of millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans into the U.S. every year.

“The Democrats — everyone looks to them as undocumented Democrats and Republicans see them as cheap labor,” said Tancredo, who founded the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus in 1999, his first year in the House.

Tancredo, though, isn’t disheartened. He has reached out to community and civic groups throughout Colorado to advance his message: Illegal immigration can be cut by 90 percent if employers are simply required to check the legal status of their foreign-born workers.

The federal government has an Internet-based system called E-Verify that checks the immigration status of a worker or job candidate. Employers participate voluntarily unless they are federal contractors or are in Arizona or Mississippi — states that require the use of E-Verify under state law.

Tancredo wants to see more states — and even cities — require businesses to use E-Verify.

“It really is the easiest way to deal with it (illegal immigration),” he said. “If you cannot get a job, if you can’t get social service benefits, you don’t want to come here.

E-Verify is also the ideal solution for a company, Tancredo argued.

“It is simple and easy. All (the) employer has to do when he runs across a Social Security number that isn’t correct … tell the person to go fix it,” he said. “They don’t have to call Homeland Security.”

Tancredo is waiting to hear back on his speaking offers, so he doesn’t yet have a start date for his tour. He might even take his message to groups nationwide if he gets a favorable response at home.

“If we don’t try to stop illegal immigration,” he said, “we might as well fold the tent.”

Melanie Gray can be reached at mjgray60@gmail.com

 

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Tori Richards is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter who has covered some of the biggest news in the world during her 25 years in the business. She has also won a dozen national and local writing awards for her coverage of the judicial system. Richards has worked for CBS News, Bloomberg, Reuters. Agence-France Presse, the NY Post, the NY Times and The Daily among others. Her work has also appeared on CNN.com, FoxNews.com and US News & World Report. Some of her biggest stories included the cases of OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Night Stalker.

  • Redoubt South

    There is now a US Marine in Mexican custody over possession of an antique shotgun he had properly registered with Mexican authorities His family has been trying to get him home by Christmas but the Mexican authorities say their laws must be upheld… while at the same time, millions of their citizens break our immigration laws and get by with it. To date, this story has only appeared on but a few new sites… one being in the UK, not even in America. The word is that the US State Department has put a clamp on this being made public for fear of what it might do to the current administration’s efforts to legalize tens of millions of illegals already in the US.

    Links follow. if this violates any ToS and prevents this comment from being published, it will be tried again without them.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/20/lawmakers-press-administration-on-jailed-marine-point-finger-at-us-border/

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249746/John-Hammar-First-photo-revealed-US-Marine-jailed-Mexicos-notorious-prisons.html

  • Taxpayer1234

    This Coloradan taxpayer is DISGUSTED. It’s taking away potential future funding for my kid’s college education. Yeah, my kid is an American citizen, born and raised here.

  • http://navygentleman.com/cvn2 Red47

    Why only this criminal exemption? Why not give it to any lawbreaker who has been here three years? Both groups have been paying in. They have all been breaking the law.

    Wait, what? It isn’t their criminal status, it’s their voting bloc?

  • Joel Wischkaemper

    Nearly three out of four Hispanic voters cast their ballots for Obama, making even the staunchest Republicans realize they must court the nation’s largest minority group if they want to return to power — both in Washington and across the country
    —————————————–
    And that very group is demanding we accommodate one very illegal process for their ethnic group: naturalization.. amnesty. That very group is also threatening the white population of this country almost constantly. That very group has a huge number of very, very poorly educated members we are suppose to support because the illegal aliens had to work very hard to get here. That very group is also the one that we are told we must educate because we want the illegal aliens to be well educated when they start running this country.
    We need to enforce the law. We have needed to enforce the law for a long time.

  • Joel Wischkaemper

    Something we need to get use to is that the Dope Cartels in Mexico have a huge amount of money that comes from the United States. Via the illegal aliens by the way. They are using it to have their way on who populates this country and who doesn’t.

  • Dave Francis

    The TEA PARTY will not reduce its bombardment of these twin issues, on both the American Public and Congress as a need to enact “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” ( H.R. 2885), containing the mandatory E-Verify provision. This is an imperative to remove illegal aliens from the workplace and regenerate millions of jobs to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Nothing difficult about this policy, except that state and federal legislators need to be harshly reminded by the voters that this nation needs to protect its borders and people from further invasion. In conclusion, a far more controversial law is to force the passage of the “BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT (H.R.140). This exceeds every financial illegal immigration welfare program, as this aspect represents not in the hundreds of millions, but hundreds of Billions of dollars? We are supporting other countries poverty, to the detriment of our taxpayers. These billions of dollars should be supporting our own impoverished, not a free education for the children of illegal alien parents or the growing lines of foreigners arriving in our hospitals with their children. The simple fact of one stroke of the pen, the correct number of votes could alter illegal alien children getting instant citizenship because their parents smuggled them into our country or came here undetected in the womb of a mother. If this amendment to the 14th Amendment is not altered the payout for the “foothold” babies of illegal aliens will go on forever, and the costs doubled and tripled. Skilled workers YES! Poverty NO! And NO Amnesty?

    AMERICA DOESN’T HAVE A REVENUE ISSUE, IT HAS A SPENDING ISSUE? PRESIDENT OBAMA GETS HIS VOTES FROM MOSTLY PEOPLE WHO WANT SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, WHILE TAXPAYERS HAVE TO CARRY THE “FREELOADERS”.

    BIG PROBLEMS COMING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA ON BENGHAZI, SEE THE ROY BECK’S VIDEO AT http://www.teaparty.org/beck-obama-may-go-to-prison-17572/

  • Jazzee

    So now Colorado citizens are second class and illegals are the priority wow kind of like here in Nebraska..so that means I don’t have to obey laws of the state too right?? And I wish the DC idiots would just call ‘comprehensive immigration’ what it is amnesty..there is no way they can police 12 million people if they paid back taxes (HAHA) or anything else they may require…stop treating us like we’re stupid out here amnesty is just that
    so therefore NO laws apply to the rest of us
    so pound sand on your gun laws, traffic laws, tax laws, etc. we are ALL illegals as you tell us……………so leave US alone