By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate on Wednesday passed and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive state-funded student financial aid to attend college.
House Bill 2691, known as the Retaining Illinois Students and Equity, or RISE Act, passed the House on April 11. It also would extend eligibility for the state’s Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, to certain transgender individuals who are disqualified from state or federal financial aid because they have not registered for the draft.
“Just because someone is undocumented doesn’t mean they aren’t members of our society. It doesn’t mean that they don’t contribute to our society,” Sen. Omar Aquino, a Chicago Democrat and lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said during floor debate. “Undocumented families in Illinois are Illinois families. They are Illinois residents that pay taxes – taxes that actually, because they are undocumented, they are not able to receive the return on those taxes back to them.”
But the idea provoked strong opposition from Republicans, who argued that expanding the pool of students who are eligible for MAP grants by allowing noncitizens to receive them would crowd out legal citizens from getting them.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the math is simple,” Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, said. “Each and every one of us have students in our districts who are relying on MAP funding. If we’re going to take some of that funding away from our citizens and give it to noncitizens, that means we’re depriving some of our citizens, some of our students, from being able to have that funding to help with their education. This is just absolutely,…
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May 8, 2019 at 07:15PM