Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 9, 2007

Special Committee on Immigration Reform passes legislation out of committee

The Special Committee on Immigration Reform voted to pass HB269 out of committee on Wednesday, Feb. 7, advancing a bill that would require higher education institutions to certify that they do not admit students who are unlawfully present in the U.S. Dr. Kandis Smith, UM assistant vice president for academic affairs, testified at the hearing that the University would like to be helpful to the committee as it finds a solution that works for the state, but that the institution has several concerns about the way the bill is currently written.

One of the University’s chief concerns is that the legislation would require higher education institutions to certify annually to the House Education Appropriations Committee that they have not knowingly admitted any illegal aliens during the preceding year. Certification would be required prior to any appropriations to an institution, leaving the possibility that a university could be penalized financially.

“This is a concern due to the fact that if an unauthorized resident slips through the cracks by misrepresenting their status an institution’s appropriations could be in jeopardy,” Smith testified.

The University suggested to the committee that certification instead could be made to the General Assembly through the Department of Higher Education, which is charged with carrying out the goals and administrative responsibilities for the state system of higher education.

A version of HB269 also was introduced last session and passed through the House but did not make its way through the Senate.

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