As the House Advanced schooling Committee chose to hold off voting on the bill that would bar illegal immigrants from attending Georgia public colleges following a packed public meeting, Chairman Carl Rogers asserted he intends to meet with college leaders yet others to look at adding flexibility towards the bill.
After the meeting, Rogers said:
“I don’t think we’re ready, and that i don’t think the bill is ready.
“It’s a very hard issue. It’s a very emotional issue.”
It is thought that the earliest the committee could vote would be in two weeks, writes Laura Diamond at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The controversial bill would prohibit illegal immigrants from signing up for any of the 35 colleges in the University System of Georgia and the 25 colleges within the Technical College System of Georgia.
Colleges would be required to run students’ names through a federal database and only if they pass could they be allowed to attend a public college.
Rep. Tom Rice, R-Norcross, who sponsored the balance, believes that this is about keeping seats open if you are here legally.
“Personally i think that students who\’re here without legal documentation should find opportunities elsewhere to get their education.”
While Rice had some support in the meeting, nearly all those that attended were there to voice their opposition.
Keish Kim, an illegal immigrant who graduated from Centennial High in Roswell in \’09, said:
“This really is about dreams; it’s about goals.
“I really hope that this state doesn’t stop and halt dreams.”
Dozens of scholars wore scarlet U’s to represent the stigma and denied opportunities “undocumented” students face. They, along with University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby, want to see the bill turned down.
Instead, Huckaby wants to begin to see the system study the effects of new policies such as the barring illegal immigrants from attending any college that has turned away academically qualified students, that have been implemented last fall.
Colleges like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Health Sciences and Georgia College & State universities could be affected within the bill passes.
Illegal immigrants may be permitted to attend another 30 colleges within the state, however they must pay the higher out-of-state tuition rates.
Of the system\’s 318,000 students, about 300 are “undocumented,” Huckaby said.