Massachusetts Looks to Revive Instate-Tuition

Governor Deval Patrick is looking at another push to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students in Massachusetts as per the recommendations of a year-long study conducted on how to improve immigrant integration in Massachusetts.

In light of federal inaction on immigration, 11 states with growing immigrant populations have already approved in-state tuition for undocumented students who attend high school in those states.

More than 910,000 immigrants live in Massachusetts, which is 14 percent of the population, and the numbers are increasing. 1 in 5 immigrants—well below the national average—are currently residing in the state without legal status.

Anti-immigrant advocates are furious, given their recent string of dismal losses. They are screaming about the supposed additional tax-burden. In these ignorant spew of copy-paste words, ‘the taxpayer’ is constructed as some mono-lithic, angry, usually white American citizen shouldering the burden of free health care, welfare and now education for those damn ‘illegal aliens.’

Not a shred of credible evidence is presented to show how granting in-state tuition to undocumented students in Massachusetts would burden this monolithic taxpayer, assuming we grant the existence of such a being given that even undocumented immigrants pay taxes.

Fact Check: A 2009 report by the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts found that immigrant-headed households paid $1.2 billion in Massachusetts state income taxes in 2005, $1.06 billion in local property taxes in 2007, and $346 million in sales and excise taxes in by the Immigrant Learning Center shows that immigrants paid $1.2 billion in taxes to the state of Massachusetts in 2005. They also comprised 16.4% of the state income tax filers in 2005, higher than their 14.1% share of population, which demonstrates that they are more likely to file taxes than those ‘native’ to Massachusetts.

Fact Check: In-state tuition comes with a positive fiscal note. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation conducted a study which indicates that the state could pull in an additional $2.5 million by allowing in-state tuition for undocumented student.

But if Massachusetts does pass in-state tuition, studies estimate that only up to 600 students could benefit from this proposal, which is too low a number to really affect college enrollment or roll-back the disparities between Whites and Latinos when it comes to attaining higher education degrees. It poses little cause for concern for taxpayers and college-enrolled students in Massachusetts.

In the past, Governor Deval Patrick has tried to find ways to bypass the Massachusetts legislature to enact this common-sense policy. Lets hope Governor Patrick does the right thing for the people of Massachusetts and initiates this policy.

(Photo Credit: Office of Governor Patrick)

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