Miklosi to postpone illegal immigrant in-state tuition bill

State Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Denver, told the Denver Post that he will wait another year to introduce legislation to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. He said he’ll use the additional time to draw more support for the law. His bill would allow students who have attended at least three years of high school in Colorado to pay in-state tuition at any state college or university.

Miklosi had said in October that he was planning to introduce the bill in the coming session.

Rep. Joe Miklosi
Rep. Joe Miklosi

A similar bill, sponsored by Chris Romer, D-Denver, died in the Colorado Senate in April after five Democrats joined Republicans in voting against it. Many cited concerns about deep cuts to the state’s college system that appear to be looming–or the fear of a lawsuit.

The Denver Post story quoted Gov. Bill Ritter arguing that a bill passed last session will do more for Colorado’s immigrant population than Miklosi’s proposed bill. The bill allows high school students to take courses at community colleges

Asked recently if he was pushing for the legislation in 2010, Ritter said no. He said that a bill passed last session to expand a program that allows high school students to take courses for college credit would do more to help illegal immigrant students than in-state tuition.

Under the new law, high school students can get enough credit for an associate’s degree at the school district’s expense, if the school district has an agreement with a college. Because the students are still in high school, their immigration status is not an issue when getting college credit.

“That has a greater impact and a broader impact” than in-state tuition would, Ritter said.

However, the Post story also suggested that the bill might have been delayed because it is too controversial for a year with so many important campaigns. The story alleged alleged that certain Democrats had stated privately that they worried the bill could hurt the party’s image in “what could be a challenging election year.”

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