In the House

By By Natalie Hale and By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

Undocumented students who desire to attend a Utah university and receive in-state tuition may no longer get the opportunity.

Despite failing in the Utah House of Representatives, former House Bill 224’s contents have been copied into a new bill that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving any state or local benefits.

The new House Bill 437 passed out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday morning and will be moved to the House floor to be debated.

Undocumented students who are currently receiving in-state tuition would still qualify until they graduate, but would be required to sign an affidavit agreeing not to work in the United States until they are lawful citizens.

The cutoff date for students who could apply to receive this tuition break would be in May, eliminating the amendment that would allow undocumented students to continue to receive the break until 2010.

“A bill never dies,” said Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City. “This one section of this bill we have already voted on twice as a body and have rejected it twice.”

The bill passed in committee despite an unsuccessful attempt to make an amendment that would delete the section concerning undocumented immigrants receiving in-state tuition.

“The body has made its will known,” Litvack said. “I know perseverance and I have experienced it myself and expect that this bill will be back next year. But not this session; enough is enough.”

Two audience members were chosen to address the committee.

Ronald Mortenson spoke in favor of the bill. He said these students shouldn’t reap the same benefits as legalized citizens.

“It is only fair that we treat (legal immigrants) with equal dignity and the respect that they deserve,” Mortenson said

Karen Crompton, co-chair of Utahns for the American Dream, spoke on behalf of those who were not in favor of the bill.

“(This bill) will not solve the immigration problem,” Crompton said. “These are people who came here for the American dream. The children who were brought here by their parents had no part in that debate. We should give them a shot (at it).”