The Oregon Senate voted Tuesday to allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Oregon public universities.
The Senate’s 18-11 vote sends the measure to the House, where two Republicans and six Democrats have already signed on to it.
Supporters of the legislation say students shouldn’t be punished because their parents brought them to the United States illegally. And, the bill’s backers say, the state should help students be productive residents after investing in years of public education.
The measure, SB 742, would require universities to charge in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who attended at least five years of school in the United States, at least three of them in Oregon. They must be dependent on another adult for support and apply to college within three years of receiving a high school or GED diploma.
The in-state tuition would be good for up to five years at one of seven universities governed by the State Board of Higher Education. Students would be required to attest that they have applied for legal residency — a provision aimed at ensuring they’re eligible to work in the U.S. after they receive a degree.