Tweet backs in-state tuition

Hickenlooper signals support for children of illegal immigrants

DENVER – Gov. John Hickenlooper has offered support for the idea of letting the children of illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition rates at Colorado colleges.

Currently, children who crossed the border illegally with their parents must pay out-of-state tuition. Senate Bill 15 would let them pay in-state rates, while denying them the $1,800 stipend the state gives every student.

Hickenlooper had been silent about the bill, but that changed with a tweet at 9:44 p.m. Saturday on his official Twitter account, @hickforco.

“Every child deserves a chance. Every HS student must see a path forward. That’s why SB 15 deserves a full hearing in the House,” the tweet said.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate on a party-line vote, but sponsors have been holding off on a final vote in order to build support in the Republican-majority House.

When questioned by reporters Monday afternoon, Hickenlooper said he had not read the current version of SB 15.

The bill would allow students who attend a Colorado high school for three years and graduate to get in-state tuition, without the stipend. Hickenlooper said the idea seems “reasonable.”

He said the immigration issue needs to be solved on the national level, with an appropriate guest-worker system, identification cards that work and secure borders.

“But in the meantime, we should let kids finish their education,” Hickenlooper said.

The Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees voted to back SB 15 early this month.

jhanel@durangoherald.com