Colorado Senate Kills Bill That Aimed to Give Undocumented Immigrants Equal Tuition Opportunities

April 7 2009, 8:50 AM

groff-peterFor a while, it appeared that Colorado lawmakers, led by Democrats, would approve a bill to allow any student who graduated from a local high school after attending for at least three years to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities--regardless of their immigration status. But in the end, the bill was killed, causing a ruckus at the state Capitol, according to The Denver Post. At times angry, Senate President Peter Groff (pictured), one of only two blacks in the Legislature, seemed to know the defeat was coming, accusing opponents of not having the "courage" to do the right thing before the bill failed. But opponents, like Groff's fellow Senator Morgan Carroll, said in a statement that it was the wrong time to support the bill, as massive cuts are expected for the state's higher education budget. Indeed, higher ed is poised to take a $424.7 million hit--a cut of 54 percent from the 2008-09 total, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Five Democrats in all joined with the entire Republican minority to defeat Senate Bill 170, according to The Colorado Independent. Still, some conservatives backed the measure, including Denver's Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput, according to The Cherry Creek News. For Pueblo Senator Abel Tapia, who sponsored similar legislation in 2004, the bill's failure represents the continuation of institutional discrimination against Latino heritage, he tells The Pueblo Chieftain. Meanwhile, residents in Old Town Fort Collins are outraged over anti-immigrant fliers that were dropped in their neighborhood recently by a hate group, reports the Coloradoan.