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Monday, January 2, 2012 - 12:00pm

Bill To Bar Immigrant Students

Some Georgia lawmakers want to toughen the state’s stance on illegal immigrants in public colleges and universities. A bill before the state legislature would widen a ban approved last year.

The Board of Regents already has barred illegal immigrants from certain in-demand schools.

A new proposal would extend that ban to all of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities, and its 26 technical colleges.

Rep. Brett Harrell is a co-sponsor of the bill, along with Rep. Tom Rice. He says taxpayers may be footing the bill for illegal immigrants’ education because tuition doesn’t cover all costs.

“The taxpayers are subsidizing much of the expense of these institutions so it seems to me that those who are attending should be either legal citizens or have legal alien status,” Harrell said.

The Snellville Republican says the bill probably wouldn’t save Georgia a lot of money because few illegal immigrants are enrolling in college.

Critics say the bill penalizes young people whose parents illegally brought them here as children.

Rep. Stacey Abrams is the Democratic minority leader.

“You are denying access to advanced education to children who have done nothing other than be the progeny of their parents,” she said.

Lawmakers will consider the bill during the legislative session that starts in January. Last session, they passed a law that bans companies from hiring illegal immigrants.