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Florida Lawmakers Offer Dream Act Bill

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(AP)

(AP)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) — Two Democratic state lawmakers, one from Miami, have offered a bill for the 2012 legislative session that would create a pathway for undocumented immigrants to get in-state tuition.

The bill (HB 81, SB 106) allows an immigrant brought here illegally who have spent three years at a Florida high school to be eligible for in-state tuition at a Florida college or university.

To qualify for in-state tuition, these prospective students would also have to prove that they graduated from high school and are enrolled in college courses. Prospective students who do not have legal immigration status would also have to prove that they are trying to obtain legal residency status or citizenship.

A similar bill at the national level called the DREAM Act has been offered for years, but has yet to be approved by Congress. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors bill languished largely because of Republican opposition.

Florida’s bill, which stands to be debated during the Legislature’s upcoming session, was introduced in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) and in the Florida Senate by Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) earlier this week. It would not grant legal status to undocumented immigrants.

Eleven states now have laws that allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, and eight more are considering Dream Act-style legislation in upcoming legislative sessions.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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