- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2003

Delegate Karen Darner, Arlington Democrat, is very unhappy with Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore for suggesting that the state require illegal immigrants to pay higher out-of-state tuition rates. Miss Darner is sponsoring legislation that would permit state colleges to offer in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants who graduated from a Virginia high school and agree to apply to become a permanent resident.
The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuitions can be huge. As this newspaper recently reported, Virginia Tech charges $480.24 for three credit hours for in-state students and $1,682.49 for out-of-state students. The Northern Virginia Community College system charges $169.69 for in-state students and $607.41 for out-of-state ones.
Some illegal alien students will have to pay more due in large part to the criminal irresponsibility of their parents, who made the conscious decision to violate U.S. immigration law by residing illegally in this country. A serious question can be raised as to whether Mr. Kilgore's suggestion goes far enough, and whether people in this country illegally should be attending Virginia state schools at all. Virginia taxpayers subsidize the cost of each student enrolled in Virginia colleges and universities in the amount of $6,000 a year.
Delegate Thelma Drake, Norfolk Republican, who has drafted a bill supporting Mr. Kilgore's position, points to another inequity that stems from the practice of permitting illegal aliens to receive lower in-state tuition: Thousands of military families stationed temporarily in Virginia must pay out-of-state tuition. This means that many of the people in her district are military spouses and dependents who take courses at local colleges. Because most keep their residences in their home states, they are ineligible for the in-state rates.
This is quite simply outrageous. Military spouses and dependents deserve lower in-state rates. And Virginia lawmakers should reject Miss Darner's proposal and require that illegal aliens pay the higher out-of-state tuition rates.


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