Illegal immigrant students should have access to federal financial aid, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“The fact that as a nation we have yet to do that is a travesty,” he told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual conference earlier this week.
“We cut off our nose to spite our face. Think of young people, who this is their country they’ve grown up in, the country they love, they have worked hard, they have gotten great grades, they’ve been community leaders, they’ve contributed and the fact that we don’t give them the chance to go to college makes no sense whatsoever,” he said, in a video of his address to the caucus conference Wednesday, captured by PJ Media.
Illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal financial aid. However, they can get financial aid through state or college funds. Some states also grant illegal immigrants favorable in-state tuition rates.
The retiring cabinet member sees the dearth of financial aid for illegal immigrants as “absolutely backwards.”
“We are nowhere near where we need to be and as a nation we have to break through,” he said.
Duncan also called for more action on gun control. “There is a level of death that our nation has accepted that simply isn’t accepted in Australia and Canada and England and Japan and other countries. They just don’t accept it and their children grow up with a much greater sense of security, a sense of being cared for and a chance to be successful” he said.
Duncan is slated to step down as education secretary in December.