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March 26, 2013

Reversal of fortune for some students?

Push is on to roll back law barring in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Among the supporters of Leising’s bill is Republican Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury who voted for the original 2011 law. His change of heart came after hearing from students adversely impacted by the 2011 law, including a college student who’d been brought to the U.S. illegally when she was two months old. 

“These kids are victims,” Yoder said during a hearing on Senate Bill 207. “They‘ve done nothing wrong. They are not at liberty to tell their parents what to do when they cross this border, and I’m not sure how we as a society here in Indiana benefit by trying to limit their possibilities.”

That’s the case the Kubacki is hoping to make as well in the House. Kubacki, whose maiden name is Espinoza, is a second-generation American and the daughter of migrant farm workers. 

As a freshman legislator, she voted for the 2011 law. It’s defenders at the time said it would it send a clear message that Indiana would no longer be a “sanctuary” for undocumented workers who were in the U.S. illegally because of the federal government’s failure to act on illegal immigration. 

But she later came to regret that vote, especially after hearing from students who dropped out of college because they couldn’t afford the non-resident tuition; it’s $31,000 a year at Indiana University compared to $10,000 for in-state students. 

“We changed the rules on these kids, which is just not the fair thing to do when they were already in college and headed on a career path,” Kubacki said. 

“At the time when I was supported the bill, I was looking at things in a very black-and-white fashion,” she added. “But when you stand back and analyze things, things aren’t black and white. There is a lot of gray.”

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