Thursday Feb. 7, 2013
A petition drive is afoot among undocumented immigrant youth and their backers to promote passage of Senate Bill 207.
Furthermore, a call has been put out for S.B. 207 backers to attend a gathering of local state lawmakers on Saturday in Goshen to air their support directly to leaders (more on that at the bottom of the blog).
S.B. 207, co-authored by Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, would let undocumented immigrants who were attending a public college as of July 1, 2011, pay lower in-state tuition rates. Here’s the summary page of the bill on the Indiana General Assembly website. It would partially counter HEA 1402, a measure state lawmakers passed in 2011 making all undocumented immigrants pay higher non-resident tuition rates at public colleges and universities here.
Having to pay higher non-resident tuition rates can be a big burden, and HEA 1402 has prompted some undocumented immigrant students to drop out of college or transfer to lower-cost institutions (look at this 2011 story). Accordingly, Gilberto Perez, a supporter of the undocumented community, posted an online petition to muster support for S.B. 207. Rescinding HEA 1402 altogether (look here for specifics of that law) would be ideal, but short of that, S.B. 207 is at least a step in the right direction, as he sees it.
Click here to see the petition for yourself. Here’s the petition message:
Perez — an associate professor of social work at Goshen College, though his S.B. 207 efforts are an individual initiative — praised what he called Yoder’s “good faith” efforts on the issue. About 80 from Elkhart, Goshen, South Bend and other cities around Indiana had signed the petition as of Thursday morning, a day after Perez posted it.
Aside from the petition, Perez, in a posting to the Facebook page of Indiana’s Dream Initiative, made a call for other S.B. 207 backers to attend the Third House meeting of state lawmakers on Saturday in Goshen. There they can voice their support directly to state officials and offer assistance.
“What can the community do to support your good faith?” Perez said.
Yoder sometimes attends the Third House meetings in Goshen, along with Indiana Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, and other members of Elkhart County’s delegation to Indianapolis. Saturday’s meeting starts at 8 a.m. and will be held at the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, 232 S. Main St., Goshen.
The Elkhart Truth ran a three-day series that concluded Tuesday on the efforts of younger undocumented immigrants to stay here legally. Here’s a link to the introductory story, which has links to the other installments.
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-296-5884. Visit him/subscribe to him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.