2011 Legislative Preview: HB 1008

See here for previous posts in this series.

Bill Name: AN ACT TO REQUIRE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP OR LEGAL RESIDENCY FOR A PERSON TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR IN-STATE TUITION AT A STATE-SUPPORTED INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

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Sponsors: Justin Harris (R-87), 479-871-8542, Justin.Harris@arkansashouse.org; Jon Woods (R-93), 479-200-3100, woodsforarkansas@gmail.com.

Purpose: To have Arkansas ready in case the DREAM Act is accidentally passed by the U.S. Congress.  (Less flippantly, this law would require that anyone receiving in-state tuition at an Arkansas post-secondary be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)

Pros for Average Arkansans:  Minimal.  The financial benefit would be N(b-a), where N is the number of illegal aliens or others who do not qualify under the new law, b is out-of-state tuition, and a is in-state tuition.  I can’t imagine that it’s a very large number.  The non-financial benefit would be allowing people to say things like “this way, them illegals can’t be takin’ our college seats!”  Also, I suppose it might dissuade some non-citizens from enrolling in school in Arkansas, which might please some Arkansans.

Cons for Average Arkansans: Also minimal.  Places another hurdle in the way of increasing the overall educational level of the people of this state.  Potentially keeps out talented students, though that number is likely very low relatively speaking.  Makes Arkansas look bad in the event that the DREAM Act passes.

Official BHR Position: Oppose as unnecessary.

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