Debate in Spanish and Creole could be heard in the Florida House Chambers. The multi-lingual portions of Friday’s legislative session were sparked by a bill to lower tuition costs for students born in Florida to undocumented parents.
“They are US Citizens. They we’re born in this country, like I was and many of you were and they deserve this benefit,” said Rep. Nunez.
The bill passed with overwhelming support, but before the vote controversy.
“It is something that gives me hope for the future but it makes me sad that we cannot move more deliberately,” said Rep. Jose Rodriquez.
Representative Jose Rodriquez tried to amend the bill to include non-citizen students who were brought here as kids and are pushing legislation called the Dream Act.
“Many of the dreamers were brought here young and they have no country to go home to. They are as American as anybody else culturally,” said Rodriquez.
The bill’s passage is a big step here in Florida. Just two years ago the state’s Republican led legislature was considering an Arizona-style immigration law.
“This is a huge step forward. Two years ago we were discussing the Arizona-type of immigration law,” said Rep. Frank Artiles.
Democrats vowed to use the bill as a starting point. They want to come back next year and pass the Dream Act.
The bill would also make it easier for veterans, foster kids and homeless people to get instate tuition rates.