NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A push to offer in-state college tuition rates to students whose parents brought them into the country illegally is picking up unlikely momentum from some Republicans in Tennessee, a deeply conservative state that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump and his tough stance on immigration.
If the lawmakers succeed, Tennessee would follow the lead of Washington, D.C., the only other local government to pass such an ordinance since Trump took office in January. Twenty other states already allow the in-state tuition.
To sell the idea, the bill's supporters have had to maneuver carefully, steering the debate away from illegal immigration policy whenever possible.
Instead, they are promoting the measure as an economic driver and an educational opportunity for students who didn't have a choice about crossing into the United States at a young age. They say the students are innocent victims of decades of political deadlock on immigration at the national level.