The Colorado Senate gave preliminary approval Friday to a long-debated proposal about college tuition for illegal immigrants.
After nearly two hours of intense debate, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 20-13 on initial approval of Senate Bill 12-015.
Republican critics said the bill would reward illegal immigration.
Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, said the bill "sends a message of 'come to Colorado we dont enforce federal laws or even our own laws,'" according to Education News Colorado
Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, said, "Its always very, very painful to hear our young undocumented students
be called felons," Education News reported.
While every member is entitled to sincere beliefs, Guzman said, "Some see these young people as felons. Some see them as heroes."
This year's immigrant tuition bill would allow residents who are illegal immigrants to attend state universities at tuition rates that are higher than those for in-state students but lower than tuition paid by out-of-state students. It's the sixth time Colorado lawmakers have considered some sort of immigrant tuition bill.
Advocates said the real test will come when the bill moves across the hall to the Republican-led House.
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