I am writing to urge you to oppose HB 191: Nonresident Tuition Waiver Amendments in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting . If passed, this bill would take away in-state tuition for undocumented students who have attended at least three years of high school in Utah and graduated from a Utah High School. As an Associate Professor/Instructor in the University of Utah Honors College I have had the privilege of teaching and working with quite a few undocumented students over the past several years and can assure you they are not the criminals they are often made out to be. Just this last week in committee meeting testimony we have heard undocumented immigrants referred to as a bacteria that is rotting our country, as invaders, and as criminals.
My experience, however, has been quite different. The undocumented students I know are bright, intelligent, hard working, and engaged young people with dreams and goals just like any of our other students. Most of them did not come here by choice, but were brought by parents who moved here to be in closer proximity to the LDS church, for jobs, or even to provide better educational opportunities for their children. And the students I know are honoring the commitment of their parents by pursuing the goals and dreams for which their parents have sacrificed and worked.
Passing HB191 will not make these students pick up and go back to their home countries, countries with which many of them are unfamiliar. It will only make the dream of getting an education that much more difficult. Please support these hard-working and dedicated young people by allowing them to pursue their educational dreams by maintaining in-state tuition for those who qualify. Please vote against HB191, it does nothing to solve the immigration issue. On the contrary, it only creates more obstacles for the very capable and bright young people who could actually help us develop some sensible immigration policies that address concerns of border security, labor markets, and family stability.
Dr. Matt Bradley