Texas Lawmaker Questions In-State Tuition Law

By Mary Ann Zehr — November 04, 2008 1 min read

State Rep. Leo Berman—a Republican from Tyler, Texas—contends that a law offering in-state tuition rates to undocumented students in Texas violates federal law, according to an Oct. 30 article in the Houston Chronicle. This fall, Rep. Berman asked the state’s attorney to issue an opinion on the matter.

“I think Representative Berman is simply making mischief,” responds Michael Olivas, a University of Houston law professor, to Mr. Berman’s actions, according to the article.

I first heard of Rep. Berman last year when I reported on the 25th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a lower court decision that public schools in Tyler were obliged to provide a free K-12 education to undocumented students.

I learned then that Mr. Berman had introduced legislation in the Texas legislature in 2007 that sought to deny citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrants and also aimed to deny them state services such as public education. The legislation didn’t go anywhere.

But Mr. Berman probably has a greater chance of attracting attention to the in-state tuition issue than that of citizenship by birth, given what’s happened in other states.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

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