A&M student leader veto stands over immigrant fees

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M Student Senate has rejected a bill that criticized the system of allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

The Student Senate earlier this month endorsed a bill that condemned allowing illegal immigrants to pay the same tuition rates as Texans. The measure was vetoed by student body president Jacob Robinson, who says the Student Senate is meant for the betterment of each student.

Backers of the plan failed Wednesday night to secure two-thirds of the Student Senate vote to override Robinson's veto, with the final vote 34-25. The bill would have represented the official stance of the A&M student body, but it had no standing on the tuition policy.

In-state tuition at A&M costs about $5,200 a year, compared to out-of-state tuition at about $19,600.

Senator Justin Pulliam, who led the effort to oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, cited fairness issues.

"It didn't seem fair that out-of-state Americans were struggling and having to pay $15,000 more while people here illegally were getting the tuition break," said Pulliam, who leads the group Texas Aggie Conservatives and welcomed debate on the issue.

"I can't be too disappointed. We had great success, and got students talking," said Pulliam.

Texas law defining residency describes eligibility for in-state tuition with conditions that some undocumented students could satisfy. Those conditions include living in Texas for the three years leading up to high school graduation and signing an affidavit indicating intent to apply for permanent resident status, the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported Thursday.

Texas A&M last year had about 300 of the roughly 12,000 students statewide who claimed residency under the law, passed in 2001 and revised in 2005, that allows undocumented students to receive in-state tuition.


Information from: The Eagle, http://www.theeagle.com

Information from: KBTX-TV, http://www.kbtx.com/