Tuesday, August 7, 2007

McCain on immigration (and higher education?)

Immigration is one of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's signature issues, and his about-face on the subject in early August may have implications for higher education. The Associated Press reported Aug. 2 that McCain had reversed an earlier position on illegal immigration, saying he now supports a bill that would impose strict rules to end illegal immigration and would not provide a path to citizenship. Earlier he had supported comprehensive reforms that could lead to citizenship. The AP makes no specific references to higher education, but last year, McCain was among 48 Senate co-sponsors of a bill that would eliminate barriers to higher education for undocumented students. Under that bill, first introduced in 2001, students who finish high school and at least two years of college could obtain permanent legal residency. They also could qualify for in-state tuition rates. The House never took up the proposal. It's a hot-button issue in McCain's home state of Arizona. The Arizona Republic Aug. 2 cited legislative data showing that nearly 5,000 people have been denied in-state college tuition, financial aid and adult education classes this year under a new state law banning undocumented immigrants from receiving those state-funded services.

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