Colorado Democratic lawmakers again pursue in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrant students

Seventh attempt to pass state 'Dream Act' bill

DENVER - Democratic lawmakers are again pursuing legislation offering in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants who have grown up in Colorado.

A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The proposed legislation is a change from a bill that failed last year, when lawmakers agreed to offer illegal immigrants tuition rates that would be higher than in-state students but lower than out-of-state students.

However, this year the Democrats are in charge of both chambers of the state house, making passage of this revised bill more probable. This is the seventh attempt to pass such legislation.

"Is this a power play?” asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart  

“No. You're going to see more bipartisan support than in years past," said state Sen. Michael Johnston, a Denver Democrat.

The level of support remains to be seen as Republicans review the revised bill.

"I think they're being honest with the voters. Last time, they mini-subsidized (tuition) if you will. This time they're going to completely subsidize it," said Sen. Ted Harvey, a Republican from Highlands Ranch.

For undocumented young people who came to Colorado at an early age, the bill is seen as a natural progression.

Ana, who is not an American citizen, points out she attended Colorado public schools until her recent graduation from high school.

"I grew up here. I thought this was always my home," Ana told 7NEWS.

While Ana continues her path to citizenship, she hopes lawmakers will help make her American dream more attainable.

"I myself bleed red, white and blue like any other teenager," she said.

Thirteen other states already have similar laws in place.

However, if the bill passes here, opponents say a lawsuit challenging it is possible.