Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into a law legislation allowing illegal immigrants living in Florida to qualify for in-state tuition rates Monday.
“Signing this historic legislation today will keep tuition low, and allow all students who grew up in Florida to have the same access to affordable higher education. With this legislation, higher education became more affordable and more accessible to all Floridians,” Scott said in a statement.
The law requires illegal immigrants to have attended a Florida school for at least 3 consecutive years prior to graduation and within 24 months apply to a college in order to obtain the in-state rates.
The AP notes that in-state tuition for illegal immigrants has been considered before but faced Republican opposition, this year however, Scott and Republicans like House Speaker Will Weatherford — who called the signing of the legislation “a proud and historic moment” — pushed for the initiative.
Interestingly, Scott used to opposed in state tuition for illegals, telling Newsmax in 2011, “with regard to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, I completely oppose it.”
In the press release announcing Scott’s signing there is no mention of undocumented immigrants, or even immigrants for that matter. Instead the press release boasts Scott “signs legislation that lovers tuition for all Florida students.”
Scott is currently in a re-election race against his predecessor, former Florida governor and recently minted Democrat Charlie Crist.
Last year Scott vetoed a bill that would have allowed drivers licenses for illegal immigrants.