Debate Continues Over RI Law Allowing In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants; Federal Prosecutor Refuses to Offer Legal Opinion

Posted by erik devaney

Courtesy of

A Rhode Island lawmaker says the state’s top federal prosecutor won’t weigh in on a new state policy giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition at state colleges.

State Senator James Sheehan wrote to U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha this month seeking a legal opinion on whether the new law violates federal law.

Sheehan said Wednesday that Neronha’s office said he would not respond to the request, and that his letter was forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department.

When the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education approved in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants in September, it did so without the approval of state lawmakers.

Of the 13 states that currently allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, Rhode Island is the only state to have created such a policy without legislative input.

Sheehan, a North Kingstown Democrat, says he believes the way the policy was adopted may violate federal law.

In an earlier New England Post story on the subject, State Senator Louis P. DiPalma – also a Democrat – voiced his concerns about the legality of the controversial Rhode Island policy.

“This decision is problematic,” DiPalma told New England Post, referring to the Board’s approval of the policy. “While the Board believes it is within their purview to offer this privilege, as they’re responsible for setting tuition, in my opinion I believe what they’ve done is expand policy, not work within the existing policy.”

DiPalma and Sheehan both contend that state lawmakers should be responsible for deciding whether or not to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

(With information provided by New England Post)

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Posted by erik devaney on Oct 26 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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