Immigration News and developments
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Immigration News and developments

October 3, 2011, 1:38 pm
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Obama holds Hispanic roundtable
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Rhode Island passes its own Dream

The Providence Journal reported last week, that the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education unanimously voted to make illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition at the State’s public colleges and universities. According to a Rhode Island higher-education spokesman, the laws authorizing the Board of Governors to run the public-college system gives the panel the authority to determine the criteria for in-state tuition eligibility. Under Rhode Island’s new policy, illegal aliens will qualify for the tuition break at state colleges and universities if they: (1) attended high school in Rhode Island for at least three years; (2) received a high school diploma or GED in Rhode Island; and (3) signed an affidavit stating an intent to seek legal status once eligible to do so.

 Notwithstanding a federal law that generally bars the granting of tuition breaks to illegal aliens, Rhode Island now joins Texas, California, New York, Utah, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Maryland, and Connecticut in making higher education more affordable and accessible to illegal alien students. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee praised the move, claiming that providing in-state tuition to illegal aliens would “improve the intellectual and cultural life of [Rhode Island] while strengthening our work force and helping our economy.” One of Gov. Chafee’s first acts upon taking office was to rescind his predecessor’s executive order requiring all public employers to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. (NBC recently reported that the governor is considering offering driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

 Obama Addresses Hispanic Roundtable; Calls Deportation Stats “Deceptive

 President Obama entertained questions from what was called a “U.S. Hispanic audience” Wednesday during an online roundtable moderated by Jose Siade of Yahoo Espanol, Karine Medina of MSN Latino, Gabriel Lerner of AOL Latino and Huff-Post Latino Voices. The questions covered a broad spectrum of issues from the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, to whether Obama felt it is time for a Hispanic to lead the executive branch. The questions appeared to reflect a sense of disillusionment among U.S. Hispanics over the President’s immigration policies. One of the first questions asked of Obama was why has his Administration deported more illegal aliens than those before him. In an attempt to deflect this criticism, he argued the deportation statistics are misleading, he said, “[T]he statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is…apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours.”

 President Obama blamed Congress for the failure enact comprehensive immigration reform, stating there is not enough support for an amnesty bill among lawmakers. “The most important thing for your viewers and listeners and readers to understand,” he said “is that in order to change our laws, we’ve got to get it through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, and we’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate. And right now we have not gotten that kind of support….” He did not mention the fact that that for two years he had exactly that kind of support while his party controlled both the House and the Senate.

Author: Reynold Mason
Reynold N. Mason teaches law courses at Zenover Educational Institute In Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a judge on New York City Civil Court and, a Justice on New York State Supreme Court. Mason has been an adjunct professor of law at Medgar Evers College and Monroe College in New York. He has authored several legal opinions published in New York Miscellaneous Reports and New York Official Reports as well as the New York Law Journal. He lives in Atlanta.
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