Skip to comments.Lawmakers back bill on alien licenses
Posted on 12/17/2002 11:19:19 PM PST by kattracksEdited on 07/12/2004 3:59:42 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
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RICHMOND -- The House of Delegates passed a bill Thursday requiring illegal aliens to pay out-of-state tuition to attend Virginia public colleges.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Del. Thelma Drake of Norfolk, passed 88-10 with no debate.
The measure is backed by Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who said in a September opinion that state-supported colleges should deny admission to illegal aliens. Those who are enrolled should be charged the higher out-of-state tuition, he wrote.
Opponents of the bill have argued that it punishes children who attended public schools and who had no say over being brought to the United States by their parents.
Supporters of the legislation say Virginia should not subsidize the higher education of people who are in the country illegally.
Two other bills dealing with the issue were tabled by a House of Delegates committee earlier in the session. One would deny illegal aliens admission to Virginia public colleges while the other would allow them to attend and pay in-state tuition.
Jan 31, 2003
This newspaper favors immigration, and lots of it. Immigrants built America into the great nation it is. The other day the adjacent space carried a moving letter about just how varied our polyglot society has become. But supporting immigration does not require supporting illegal immigration, any more than supporting gun rights requires supporting gun crime.
Measures before the General Assembly would add some common sense to the Commonwealth's approach to foreign-born residents. Both emanate from the office of Attorney General Jerry Kilgore.
The first would charge full tuition to illegal immigrants attending state colleges. Such students should not be attending state colleges at all, given that they should not be in Virginia in the first place. But if they are to attend, at the very least they should not be able to do so at cut rates. (A better law would deny enrollment in any Virginia college to any student unable to prove he/she is legally here.)
The second would ensure that Virginia drivers' licenses be granted only to non-citizens with permanent resident-alien status or valid non-immigrant visas. The bill also would make the expiration of the license coincide with the expiration of the alien's documents. Kilgore notes that seven of the 19 terrorists who attacked on September 11 held fraudulent Virginia drivers' licenses.
The bills are not anti-immigrant. Immigrants who come to this country through the proper procedures should be welcomed with open arms by the descendants of immigrants who preceded them. The bills target illegal entry and potential terrorism - and deserve swift passage into law.
Warner waffles on driver's licensesHouse Editorial
Published February 12, 2003
Alarmed by the fact that seven of the 19 terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11 were carrying Virginia ID cards even though they didn't live in the state, many members of the General Assembly are supporting legislation that would change the state's absurdly liberal standards for obtaining driver's licenses. The current law permits foreign nationals to renew their licenses without proving that they are here legally. The lion's share of the blame lies with Gov. Mark Warner, who has raised relatively trivial complaints about the legislation. The good news is that, even though the Warner administration has decided not to participate, the House and Senate have risen to the occasion.
Despite intense opposition from immigrant-rights organizations and Hispanic activists (increasingly prominent constituencies for Mr. Warner's embattled Democratic Party), the House of Delegates voted 80-20 last week in favor of legislation sponsored by Delegate David Albo, Fairfax County Republican, which would require that foreign nationals present such documents as a license or permanent-residency card when they apply for or renew their Virginia driver's licenses. In the Senate, Sen. Jay O'Brien, Fairfax Republican, has fought hard for a similar bill, which could come up for floor debate next week. In an effort to make the measure palatable to the governor, Mr. O'Brien has reluctantly agreed to postpone implementation of his own bill until July 1, 2005.
Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Mr. Warner, told The Washington Times yesterday that the governor's main problem with the O'Brien-Albo legislation is his belief that Virginia should not act on its own, but should instead wait until the National Governors Association comes forward with its own proposal, something that could happen as early as next month.
While all of this has been taking place, the Warner administration has sent DMV bureaucrats to tell legislators that the measure would cost too much. In December, the administration claimed that the legislation would cost about $1 million to implement. Now, however, DMV puts the price tag at $5.6 million a year. Even assuming that the latter figure is true (a point Mr. O'Brien sharply questions), it is ridiculous to say that the money can't be found in the $20 billion annual state budget.
Meanwhile, over in Maryland, where illegal aliens cannot obtain driver's licenses, a group of Prince George's County politicians led by State's Attorney Glenn Ivey, County Executive Jack Johnson and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate Joseph Vallario, are working with Hispanic groups to make it possible for illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. But a spokesman for Gov. Robert Ehrlich yesterday said the governor is opposed to the idea.
Mr. Warner would do well to follow the example of Mr. Ehrlich and responsible Virginia politicians from both parties by making it clear that driver's licenses should only be granted to people who are in the United States legally.
Warner asks for time to study alien tuitionMary Shaffrey
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published February 14, 2003
RICHMOND - Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday he needs more time to consider - and perhaps amend - a bill requiring illegal aliens to pay out-of-state rates to attend Virginia public colleges and universities.
"The more appropriate measure would have been to have this bill studied more," he said. "I [also] know there is probably going to be some other efforts to amend this bill."
The bill is sponsored by Delegate Thelma Drake, Newport News Republican, and passed the House last month. The Senate Health and Education Committee approved the bill yesterday; it is scheduled for a full Senate vote next week. Mrs. Drake said the bill is needed to clarify an opinion issued by Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore in September.
A group of supporters thinks Virginia should not offer a discount education to potential terrorist sympathizers.
"It is the illegal alien community that allows sleeper terrorist cells to hide in the open," said Erin Anderson of the Virginia Coalition Against Terrorism. Mrs. Drake doubts most illegal aliens in public schools are terrorist sympathizers but thinks the commonwealth should not subsidize their education.
"It is possible that there are sleeper cells in these communities, but itÂ´s a relatively small number," she said. "The problem is once they graduate, they cannot get jobs because they are here illegally. And all that state money for their education has gone to waste."
The cost of in-state tuition is substantially less expensive than out-of-state tuition. For example, a three-credit class at Virginia Tech costs in-state students $480.24 and out-of-state students $1,682.49. In the Northern Virginia Community College system, a three-credit class costs $169.69 for in-state students and $607.41 for out-of-state students.
Mr. Kilgore, who supports Mrs. DrakeÂ´s bill and is also a Republican, said every in-state student in a public college or university costs Virginia taxpayers about $6,028 a year.
Critics say many of the illegal aliens have worked for years and paid income taxes.
Andres Tobar, a chairman with Immigrants Educational Rights Coalition based in Arlington, said itÂ´s unfair to make a student pay Virginia taxes and four times the tuition paid by in-state students.
In response, Ms. Anderson said nobody is speaking up for the military families that, as she must, pay out-of-state rates while stationed in Virginia.
"This is demoralizing for members of the military community," she said. "There is no one to speak for us, yet all these pro-immigrant groups have these hired guns."
The exact number of Virginia students that would be affected by such legislation is not clear. However, about 66 of them last year were enrolled primarily in community colleges around the commonwealth.
State Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert, III, Richmond Democrat, said that because of the low number, the additional benefit of educating these students was worth the cost.
"If they donÂ´t get an education they are going to wind up on the street costing us more money," he said.
State Sen. William T. Bolling, Mechanicsville Republican, said in-state tuition is not a right.
"The purpose of in-state tuition is that it is a benefit of citizenship of Virginia," he said.
Legislation that would ban a rarely used late-term abortion procedure won final House passage yesterday and cleared a Senate panel where abortion bills have perished in the past.
The Senate Education and Health Committee also approved legislation that would require that parents give their consent before their minor daughters undergo abortions, but killed a bill that would have required abortion clinics to make prohibitively expensive renovations.
By a veto-proof 73-26 vote and with little debate, the House passed Sen. Stephen D. NewmanÂ´s bill that charges doctors who kill a fetus that has partially emerged from the birth canal with a felony punishable by 10 years in prison. If it becomes law, the measure would target doctors who deliberately kill a fetus after its head or, in the event of a feet-first birth, its legs and trunk up to the umbilical cord are outside the birth canal.
The Senate panel endorsed Delegate Robert G. MarshallÂ´s bill on a 9-5 vote. Mr. Marshall, Prince William County Republican, said the bill differs from similar legislation he offered last year that would have outlawed a procedure abortion foes call "partial-birth abortion." Mr. Warner vetoed it on grounds that it contained no exception to protect the motherÂ´s health.
This yearÂ´s bill protects fetuses in the process of an actual birth, not abortion, Mr. Marshall said.
Without debate, the committee also voted 9-6 to advance Delegate Richard H. BlackÂ´s bill to require parental consent for minors to have abortions. The House approved the bill 70-29 on Feb. 1.
The committee, however, voted 8-7 to kill a measure abortion rights advocates said would have forced all but one of VirginiaÂ´s 19 abortion clinics to close. The bill, also by Mr. Marshall, would have held clinics to the same specifications as outpatient surgical centers.
A proposal to create a specialty anti-abortion license plate was killed and then resurrected in a Senate committee yesterday.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 7-6 against the plate with two Republican members and the billÂ´s sponsor, Delegate Richard H. Black, absent from the room. Sen. Marty E. Williams, Newport News Republican and the committee chairman, revived the bill out of deference to Mr. Black, who was in the House chamber at the time of the vote.
The measure passed on an 8-6 vote the second time.
Mr. BlackÂ´s plate features two childrenÂ´s faces drawn in crayon above the words "Choose Life." It is intended to promote adoption, he said, with a portion of funds from sales of the plate going to private, nonprofit agencies that provide adoption services.
The bill prohibits distribution of money to abortion clinics.
Legislation toughening VirginiaÂ´s seat belt law passed by one vote in the House yesterday, but the victory for the billÂ´s advocates could be short-lived.
Delegate Joe T. May, Loudoun County Republican, said he expected opponents of the bill to persuade someone who voted for it to ask for reconsideration of the 49-48 vote on the House floor today.
The bill would allow police to stop and ticket drivers for not buckling their seat belts. Current law allows police to write a seat belt ticket only if the motorist is stopped for another violation.