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'Tuition Equity' Signed, Driver Licenses For Undocumented Workers Introduced

Office of the Governor

SALEM, Ore. - Students in the country illegally can now pay in-state tuition rates at Oregon universities. Governor John Kitzhaber signed what’s known as the “tuition equity” bill into law Tuesday at a crowded ceremony in Salem.

The students must have studied in the U.S. for five years and attended an Oregon high school for at least three to qualify for the lower tuition rate.

One of the students who pressed for the measure was Edith Gomez. She said she wondered whether she could ever afford college because her parents came to the U.S. from Mexico illegally.

“There were those days that I just wanted to give up," Gomez said. "I would lie in bed before going to sleep asking myself, what if all of this is for nothing? This is why the signing of this bill to be represents the triumph of hope.”

On the same day Kitzhaber signed the bill, a bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers introduced another measure to allow undocumented workers to get temporary driver licenses. Farm worker unions and nursery owners say it would reduce the number of uninsured drivers on Oregon roads. Opponents argue the measure would reward illegal immigration.

On the Web:

HB 2787: Tuition equity - Oregon Legislature 
SB 833: Temporary driver licenses - Oregon Legislature