Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper [official website] signed a bill [SB 33, PDF] into law on Monday allowing undocumented immigrant students to attend public universities at the same tuition rate as in-state residents. The Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) law requires students to have attended high school in Colorado for at least three years or have earned a general equivalency diploma (GED), and to show proof of intent to become a US citizen. Undocumented immigrant students may be eligible for institutional or financial aid. The bill was first proposed in 2003. Colorado is the fourteenth state to pass such a law, with Oregon passing a similar bill [JURIST report] earlier this month.
Immigration laws [JURIST backgrounder] have become a hot button issue over the past few years. In April a bipartisan group of US senators unveiled details [JURIST report] of a long-awaited immigration reform bill that would remove the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants. Under the legislation, an undocumented immigrant would have the opportunity to be come classified as a "Registered Provisional Immigrant." In March the Georgia General Assembly implemented stricter security and immigration compliance [JURIST report] in an amendment to Senate Bill 160. The modifications imposed tougher penalties and heightened identification requirements. The bill prevents undocumented immigrants from securing an adult education, driver's license, grants, public housing and other federal, state and local benefits. In the same month Maryland Senate approved a bill allowing driver's licenses [JURIST report] for undocumented immigrants.