- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

RICHMOND Illegal aliens living in Virginia would be required to pay out-of-state tuition to attend the state's colleges and universities if Gov. Mark Warner signs into law legislation passed by the Senate yesterday.
"Particularly in this time of budgetary uncertainty, it is unwise to provide taxpayer subsidies of an average of over $6,000 per year per student to those who have not followed our laws," said state Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, Republican, who supported the measure as part of his legislative agenda.
However, Mr. Warner, a Democrat, said he would like to review the measure further before signing it into law. "The more appropriate measure would have been to have this bill studied more," he said last week. "I [will] have to take a look at the final version when it gets [to me]."
A spokeswoman for Mr. Warner said yesterday his position has not changed.
The Senate passed the bill 27-13 enough votes to avoid any veto by Mr. Warner. The House passed the bill 88-10 last month.
Mr. Warner's options are limited. If he amends the bill and returns it for lawmakers to consider during their April 2 reconvened session, they could reject his changes with a simple majority. If he vetoes, a two-thirds majority is necessary to override the veto. In the 100-member House, it takes 67 votes to override. In the Senate, 27 votes are needed.
Supporters of the legislation argued on the Senate floor that it is unfair to give illegal aliens a benefit that American citizens living in other states or military families based in Virginia do not receive.
"An unlawful alien should not get a benefit ahead of any other American citizen," said state Sen. James "Jay" O'Brien, Fairfax County Republican.
"The question that is before us … is whether or not we believe we should be providing a tax-payer subsidized higher education to someone that is in the Commonwealth and in the country illegally," said state Sen. William T. Bolling, Mechanicsville Republican. "The underlying fact is they are here illegally."
Opponents of the measure say the bill targets a relatively small number of people. About 125 illegal aliens were enrolled in Virginia colleges last year, most of which were in the Northern Virginia Community College system, according to estimates provided by higher education officials.
Many illegal immigrants come to the region and get jobs using false Social Security numbers, opponents say. They do not try to obtain refunds from taxes collected from them because they fear the Internal Revenue Service will contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service and they would be deported. As a result, they are paying into a system but are not receiving any benefits of that system, opponents say.
But Mr. Kilgore said awarding "these rights to those who have ignored our laws is an affront to every legal immigrant resident who has done the right thing by following the law."
Opponents say if the state does not educate these students, it will lose out in the end.
"If you require these kids to pay out-of-state tuition, even though they live here, even though they pay taxes, they will not go," said state Sen. Leslie L. Byrne, Falls Church Democrat. "Those are opportunities that we have lost for economic growth in Virginia."
Delegate Thelma Drake, who sponsored the bill, disagreed. The Newport News Republican said the state would be wasting money it cannot afford to lose during the economic downturn.
"The problem is once they graduate, they can't get jobs because they are here illegally, and all thatstate money for their education has gone to waste," Mrs. Drake said.
The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be significant.
For example, a three-credit class at Virginia Tech costs in-state residents $480.24; out-of-state residents pay $1,682.49. The Northern Virginia Community College system charges in-state residents $169.69 for each three-credit class; out-of-state residents pay $607.41.
Democrats sponsored two separate floor amendments in a last-ditch effort to water down the legislation. But both bills failed, mostly along party lines.
"This cries out for additional study," said state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington Democrat. "These people are not illegal, they are just undocumented … we should not try to turn our universities into little INS outposts."

For 20 years, Darrell Green was jersey No. 28 for the Washington Redskins. From now on, his name will be associated with Route 28 in Virginia.
Mr. Green received a standing ovation yesterday from the General Assembly, which earlier this session had approved a bill naming a stretch of the road through Loudoun County as Darrell Green Boulevard.
"This was very special," said Mr. Green, who spent his entire career with the Redskins, playing in three Super Bowls.
Mr. Green said enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, would be the ultimate football honor, but it was just as special to be recognized by his adopted home state's legislature for his efforts to help children and their families through his nonprofit Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation.
"At the end of the day, what I'd want my grandchildren to know about their granddad was that he cared about people and, oh, by the way, he played pretty good football," he said.
Mr. Green said Loudoun County has been his home for 15 years and he plans to stay put. He lives there with his wife and their three children.

The House of Delegates voted yesterday to cut in half a $1.5 million payment the Senate had approved for a man who spent 15 years in prison and five on parole for a crime he did not commit.
The bill to compensate Marvin Lamont Anderson now goes back to the Senate, which could either agree to the reduced payment or reject it and send the matter to a conference committee for a possible compromise.
Mr. Anderson was convicted of a 1982 rape in Ashland. He was cleared by a DNA test in 2001.

People convicted of crimes in Virginia would have 90 days after their trials to produce new evidence proving their innocence under legislation passed in the House of Delegates yesterday.
The bill, which also passed the Senate and now heads to the governor's desk, extends Virginia's current 21-day rule for presenting new evidence after a conviction. It is the most restrictive time limit in the country.
Legislators warned that without the extension, the Virginia Supreme Court might act on its own to do away with the 21-day rule altogether. The court has proposed allowing a defendant to file a motion for a new trial at any time after conviction, provided there is sufficient new evidence to support the claim.
However, the court's justices, who have been considering a change to the rule for some time, decided to defer to the General Assembly before acting. The legislature carved out the first exception to the rule in 2001 when it allowed inmates to introduce new DNA evidence to try to exonerate themselves.
Mr. Warner said in his State of the Commonwealth address earlier this year that Virginia needed to look at expanding the 21-day rule. However, spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said yesterday the governor is not sure if 90 days "goes far enough."
"A lot of legislative time has gone into coming up with this compromise so we'll look at it fairly, but the governor is concerned that it's hard to put a clock on justice," she said.
The bill passed the House 72-27. It earlier passed the Senate unanimously.

Without debate, the Senate and the House of Delegates yesterday passed slightly different versions of legislation requiring girls 17 or younger to get their parents' consent before having an abortion.
The Senate voted 29-11 to pass an amended House bill and the House voted 72-25 to pass a revised Senate bill. Differences likely will be worked out in a conference committee before Saturday's scheduled adjournment.
Mr. Warner has expressed reservations about the proposal, arguing that there is no evidence that the current parental-notification abortion law is not working.
The legislation passed in both chambers by a wide enough margin to override a veto. It takes a two-thirds vote of both chambers 27 votes in the Senate, 67 in the House to override.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide