In Arizona, a bill, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1044, is now being considered as a potential ballot initiative that voters will decide in 2022. SCR 1044 would provide in-state college tuition to illegal aliens.
David Jaroslav of the Federation for American Immigration Reform noted that voters “previously banned in-state tuition along with other taxpayer-funded public benefits for illegal aliens when they approved Proposition 300 in 2006.”
Jaroslav explained what this resolution would do if voters ended up approving it in 2022:
If a majority of the voters approve it, in-state tuition rates would be authorized for anyone including illegal aliens who have lived in Arizona for at least two years and graduated from a state high school, the GED equivalent or home school. In-state tuition in Arizona averages approximately $12,000 a year while the out-of-state rates can be upwards of $36,000.
On March 4, 2021 the Arizona Senate passed SCR 1044 on a 17-13 vote. Three Republicans Senators joined (Paul Boyer, Tyler Pace, and T.J. Shope) Democrats in passing this bill. Although the bill floundered for a bit in the House, it was eventually passed on May 10 by a vote of 33-27. Four Republicans, Michelle Udall, Joel John, David Cook, and Joanne Osborne joined Democrats, in unanimously voting for this bill.
The majority of Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature voted against this bill. A number of them alluded to the overwhelming majority of voters rejecting in-state tuition for illegal aliens back in 2006. When Arizona voters approved Prop 300, 71% of Arizona voters manifested their desire to ban in-state tuition to illegals.
State Representative John Fillmore was one of the main opponents of SCR 1044. He described it as “misguided, unfortunate, unneeded and is actually detrimental to the welfare of my county.” In addition, he noted that “Americans should not have to pay for non-American citizens, illegals, giving them favored status for their trespass and invasion into America.”
State Representative Joseph Chaplik believes that SCR 1044 is unfair to out-of-state American citizens and legal immigrants. On top of that, he inquired about the cost of this bill by entertaining the following question: “[s]hould the taxpayers in Arizona be forced to subsidize 24,000 dollars for people who didn’t follow the rules?” According to his estimates, the “price tag could run into potentially hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming years to subsidize the cost of college for people who aren’t even American citizens.”
In accordance with Arizona’s state constitution, resolutions like SCR 1044, which bring legislative questions to the ballot box, cannot be vetoed. In effect, Governor Doug Ducey can’t do anything to stop it.
One of the better features of the American system of government is the grassroots democratic option available in a number of states, by which voters can decide to strike down controversial policies that elites and privileged interest groups push.
Hopefully, Arizona voters come to their senses in 2022 and resoundingly reject SCR 1044.