[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
The new majority in the General Assembly is going to pass, in coming months, a whole lot of measures that previously had been held up by Republicans.
While hyperpartisan Democrats will quiver with delight, regular voters will recognize it will be a mixed bag – some of the measures will be worth enacting, others probably could have stayed bottled up for eternity.
One piece of legislation we will be happy to see passed will be an end to the restrictions that prevented undocumented immigrants (or illegal aliens, depending on your place on the political divide) from gaining in-state-tuition rates at Virginia’s public colleges and universities.
Current law doesn’t prohibit institutions of higher education that are funded by the taxpayers from offering admission to such students, but does impose a requirement that they pay much higher out-of-state rates. And that’s just silly.
As advocates for a change in the law say with some frequency, it’s almost never the fault of young people that they’ve ended up in the U.S., and the reality is that – political bluster aside – they’re not going to be leaving. Better to encourage them to get a solid education and stay in the Old Dominion to be productive members of society.
Yes, there is the argument that making it more accessible for these students to get in will potentially knock out of contention some other students who have citizenship or permanent-residency status. We get that, and it’s not a matter to be ignored.
But Republican intransigence on issues like this is what (among other reasons) cost them control of the legislature last November. While we’d hardly sign on to all, or perhaps even most, Democratic proposals coming through the process in Richmond, it seems reasonable to support the party’s position on this one.