Florida this week joined 20 other states that allow in-state college tuition for youth in the country illegally, marking a significant shift in the tenor of the state’s immigration debate.
The Florida bill passed the House last month and the Senate on Thursday. Just three years ago, the majority of bills proposed by Florida lawmakers and those nationwide focused on enforcement.
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ immigration policy project says at least 15 legislatures have passed in-state tuition bills, a third of them in the past two years.
Advocates on both sides of the issue attribute the change to renewed state-level activism on immigration issues amid congressional gridlock, and the need for both parties to attract Hispanic support in key swing states.