A bill passed in the Georgia Senate on March 5, if signed into law, will ban all students without immigration forms or proper student visas from attending all of the state’s public universities and technical colleges. Proponents of the bill believe illegal students take away slots that could be used by students with citizenship, and shouldn’t be given the rights to public education in the state.
The University System of Georgia already has a ban in place for all illegal immigrants to the state’s top five schools, since these schools receive such a large number of applicants. However, undocumented students already pay the higher rates that out of state students are charged, and so the University System officials believe that undocumented students are not abusing any taxpayer’s dollars.
According to Georgia Public Broadcasting, many teachers came to the Senate House committee meeting held in January to protest the bill, stating that a student’s immigration status is often no fault of their own, and they should not be penalized for wanting more education.
Georgia Senate Democrats wrote in their minority report that banning these students from Georgia public colleges will limit their education, and will, in the long run, “limit their ablity to contribute to Georgia’s economy.”
However, Senator Barry Loudermilk, the bill’s sponsor, believes that this will not occur. Due to the hardships of gaining a work visa, many undocumented residents’ best option is to go overseas to make something of their degree.
According to estimates, there are approximately 300 students in the Georgia University System who would be affected by the bill.