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Call to action: DREAM Act repeal hearing set for Monday

You know the drill.

The push to repeal a 2001 law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities is returning to the legislative spotlight, but on an unusual stage.

On Monday, the border security subcommittee of the Senate’s Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee is scheduled to hear Senate Bill 1819, by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, which would do away with the in-state tuition provision.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s decision to send the bill to the border security panel — instead of the education or state affairs committees — strikes some lawmakers as a signal that the deck is being stacked in its favor.

State Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, said treating tuition rates as a question of border security was also an affront to undocumented students pursuing college degrees.

“Referring in-state tuition repeal to border security is implying these students are threats to the country, when in fact they are trying to contribute to the country,” he said. “It is a disservice for this bill to be heard in border security.”

Monday’s hearing was scheduled on Wednesday, a week after a similar bill, SB 1429 by state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, was referred to the Senate’s State Affairs Committee. But as of Thursday, Hall’s bill hadn’t been scheduled for a hearing. (Patrick’s office declined to shed light on why Campbell’s bill was referred to the subcommittee and immediately considered.)

But while the measure is likely to easily pass the Senate, it may meet more resistance in the House.


When the session began in January, state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, said he supports the current policy despite the political firestorm it’s caused. On Wednesday, Zerwas, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, said debating the policy is healthy, but he still stands behind it.

If SB 1819 passes the Senate, Zerwas said it likely won’t be referred to his committee but instead the House Committee on State Affairs. The chairman of that committee, state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said his support for the current policy is double-tiered.

“Number one, Texas made a commitment to these students, and as Texans we should honor our word,” he said. “Additionally, it would seem to me that having educated young people is much more productive for the economy of the state.”

Good for you, Reps. Zerwas and Cook. As for Donna Campbell, she’s doing her best to become Debbie Riddle 2.0. Details for Monday’s hearing are here; it was originally scheduled for last Monday but was postponed for a week. If it’s at all possible for you to be there and voice your opposition, please do so.

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  1. John cobarruvias says:

    If Hispanics were concerned about this issue they would have voted.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Texas has limited funds. In that respect, our public college system is like a lifeboat. They can only subsidize so many students before they run out of money. Choices have to be made. I’m sure the people on the Titanic lifeboats wanted to pluck more people from the water, but when they reached capacity, one more person would sink the lifeboat, killing everyone.

    A legal citizen of the US and Texas can graduate, then get a job in Texas, where they become a taxpayer. An illegal kid can’t do that because he will have no SS card or DL to provide to prospective employers. The only thing the illegal kids can do with their educations is return to their home country, which doesn’t really benefit the Texas taxpayer.

  3. Ross says:

    So Bill, what you are saying is that a kid who has been here since age 2 or 3, who doesn’t speak anything but English, and has never been in trouble, should get deported to a country he/she doesn’t know, doesn’t speak the language, and has no papers for. That’s real compassionate.

  4. Steven Houston says:

    So Ross, you’re saying that in an age of scarce resources, it is more compassionate to spend them on someone with no legal right to them when legal residents go wanting? Generosity and charity are fine qualities we should all probably show more of but should we when legal residents go wanting?

    By all means come up with a better solution to immigration but until you do, the sympathy card gets played out a bit too frequently when we already have to say no to our own native children. And Bill wasn’t suggesting we deport them as you claim, merely that they can’t legally work here so why expend those limited resources on them?

  5. Andrea says:

    Bill, you are wrong. This is not a competition, and Dreamers aren’t stealing seats from otherwise deserving citizens. They are admitted or not admitted to state schools based on their academic record. Their families, living and spending money in Texas, and been paying taxes and driving the economy. Once those kids graduate from high school, they can apply for DACA, which gives them all of the paperwork they need to be able to work and drive legally in this country. They are the best of what we hope all Americans will be – people who work hard to get a good education so they can get a good job and take care of themselves and their families.

    What doesn’t benefit the Texas taxpayer is having an entire subset of our population living in shadows, working off the books, constantly afraid they will be sent back to a country they never know where often, a language they don’t even know is spoken.

    Furthermore, Texas has limited funds for education in large part because Texas legislators have chosen to create and perpetuate property tax loopholes for corporations and large developments, leaving an unfair and unequal burden to be paid by residential property owners. Oversight of lottery funds and the squandering of surplus funds in fat years are also to blame. Trust me, it is not a small number of undocumented children raised and educated in Texas who are creating a financial strain on Texas schools.

    These are our kids in our communities. They WANT to continue their educations, and are willing to pay to do so. We must honor the deal we struck when we passed the Dream Act.

  6. Steven Houston says:

    Andrea, while I tend to agree with your comments, the fact is that seats in higher education are competitive, you admit it yourself when you point out that academic record is one of the criteria.
    Regardless of where the blame for limited resources should go, you also admit that resources are limited, the concept applied to higher education providing in-state rates not nearly as big as providing for the millions here illegally in grade schools. I’m not one to try and turn back the clock but the subset of illegal residents that pay the same amount of taxes as those living here legitimately is questionable as well.

  7. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steven, don’t let ignorance get in the way of a good argument. How many so called “illegals” go to universities in Texas? What percentage of the total?

    How many go to two year colleges? Two year colleges do not have limited number of students they accept, do they?

    The argument that the amount one pays for taxes, is a determining factor is not how public education works, is it Steven.

    Schools are paid with property taxes for the most part, wonder where those families live?

    So you hate “Mexicans” Steven, you have made that clear numerous times. Why do you hate them so much. Give as a good argument Steven.

    We could argument numbers Steven, but you would not be interested in that, most racists will never be convinced. Or is it bigot since technically “Mexicans” are White.

    Just wondering Steven?

    By the way Steven since if never had children of my own and have paid taxes my entire life, should I be subsidizing any children?

    If I send my children to private school should I subsidize any children other than my own.

    Those are different arguments is that what you are suggesting Steven? No public education.

    Steven I think that in this forum I suggested you were a bigot/racist. You have not written anything since to convince me otherwise.

  8. Steven Houston says:

    Manny, so much for never responding to my posts again. Still:
    1) I don’t suspect many here illegally go to college but it is the principle involved. Every one that is given a price break to attend a state institution is one less that is here legally that might not be able to attend, further, given the increased prices for education in general, those paying the bills for all levels of school most certainly think getting some bang for their buck by restricting attendance to those here legally is reasonable. If those not here legally would like to pay the actual costs of their education, I’d be fine with that.
    2) The main taxes paying for education in this state is via property taxes, specifically single family homes. While this might surprise you, apartment complexes do not apportion the share of resulting taxes nearly as well as they should. It is my belief that most here illegally live in low cost apartments, the stereotype of such living far beyond the capacity of individual rental units proven accurate time and again (perhaps not the 25 illegals to a one bedroom apartment some used to embellish as common, but more nonetheless).
    3) I don’t hate anyone, even you. It just seems fair to charge “outsiders” the full cost of their stay. I know some don’t like that idea to the point that they embellish and point fingers (look in the mirror) as a poor way of trying to discredit someone, but it is common across the world.
    4) If you want a tax break based on sending children to private school support vouchers, and by all means support those who champion the idea as you see fit.
    5) It is impossible to prove a negative. You’ve proven in this forum scores of times that you are a one trick pony with an overly sensitive, race-driven agenda about a single issue. As Houston is located in the SW portion of the country, the biggest number of people here illegally is from countries south of the border but my comments apply to those from anywhere. If I moved to Canada, Europe, or pretty much anywhere else, they would expect me to pay my share. Get over it.

  9. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steven, if you really believe about state students first, why do we allow foreign students to go to top tier universities? Public universities are subsidized in some manner otherwise their tuition would be compatible to private universities. Compare the tuition of U of H, with Rice, or U of H law school with South Texas law school. So your argument is baseless.

    Again it is the amount one pays in property taxes, other than the very rich very few families pay what the cost of schooling requires. Much of the property taxes are from business properties.

    If you don’t hate anyone why do you argue about things that you have very few facts about.

    Canada is probably the most socialist nation in the Americas, did you know that?

    All or western Europe is much more socialist than we are. So I don’t know where you get the “If I moved”

    Again why is it that you hate “illegals” or do you hate poor people? Poor people certainly do not pay their share.

    25 illegals to an apartment, where do you find that? Name the apartment complexes where that is occurring.

    One cannot allow someone to print or make statement that are not true that have effects on perceptions of humans.

    The only one trick pony is you Steven with lack of knowledge about things that you do not understand or have researched properly.

  10. Steven Houston says:

    Manny, foreign students should be allowed to go to such universities as long as they are paying their way. Bill’s argument above, slightly modified, is that outsiders/foreigners, will take their new found expertise and education to enrich communities other than Texas so why should we subsidize them?

    On your second rant, I don’t have a problem paying thousands in taxes each year to subsidize lawfully residing students of Texas. I’d like that money better spent in some cases but at some point we have to draw the line. Given that the public will does not extend to taxing business properties as accurately as possible, there will always be an issue with just how much can be spent and on which students. I get that you don’t understand why a great many people are offended that a substantial portion of their tax dollars go to subsidize illegals, that’s your big issue, but paying their way means less money for the poor that belong here.

    As far as the socialist government comparisons, it does not change the fact that by living in any of those countries, they would demand you pay your share, something that most illegals do not do. I get that they pay sales tax and excise taxes at the gas pump, but do you really think those working illegally, under the table, are paying Social Security? Do you think they own homes or own business buildings at nearly the rate of their numbers of the population? They do not. When dad heads off to work on the corner of Long Point and Airline, Gulfton and Renwick, Stubner and Cypresswood, to jump in trucks as day laborers, it is not a stretch to think they are not getting 1099’s from the employer of the day.

    As far as “allowing” someone to print something you just don’t like, TFB. Applying a little common sense on both sides of the equation is fair. Like it or not, illegals tend to speak English less proficiently than those legally here. It costs school districts more to teach them and the question of paying more to educate someone with no legal right to be here should not be off the table.

    As far as the comment on occupancy, it is commonly believed that illegals live jam packed in apartments, most not having the financial wherewithal to buy a house. My extensive experiences in Gulfton, Spring Branch, the East side, and even up on Stubner-Airline have shown me that it is not uncommon for multiple families to live in one bedroom apartments. I disputed the number of people living in such apartments when the number “25” came up, but like it or not, a small apartment with mattresses strewn across the floors is common in some areas, particularly for those here illegally.

  11. Ross says:

    Guys, property taxes are not used to fund education past the community college level. Funds for state colleges and universities come from the state general fund (mostly sales taxes and business taxes), tuition, and the Permanent University Fund. Tuition is covering more than half of the costs these days at many schools, since the legislature can’t seem to fund anything adequately.

    Does anyone have an idea as to how many students take advantage of this? I’ve seen numbers in the 10-20,000 range for actual students nationwide, which implies there’s not a lot of money at stake here.

    As for the argument that the students will move back to their home countries, with Texas losing the benefit of the expenditure on education, that’s pretty specious, given the number of students who pay in-state tuition, then move to another state to work.

  12. Manuel Barrera says:

    Thank you Ross, I knew that about property taxes, but I seriously doubt that Steven Houston does.

    I rant according to him. I haven’t ranted yet. But he has failed to answer some basic questions, like where are the facts to support his arguments.

    For instance in what apartments are 25 or more “illegals” living in one rental, he responds with “commonly believed”. Maybe among racists/bigots it is commonly believed, but he did not name an apartment complex, did he instead he choose to bring areas where large number of Latinos reside. Maybe he can’t tell the difference between Latinos and Vietnamese, they do that quite often, don’t they?

    All Steven Houston does is post racists comments, like the dads are all day laborers. Nonsense, I know a lot of families that are not documented and most are not day laborers. In fact most of those day laborers do not have families here. But people like Steven are not interested in facts. One would be surprised how many “illegals” own homes.

    Steven again why do you hate “illegals”?

    Steven why did you change the topic from the “Dream Act” to the public schools? Is it because your argument is baseless? Well it is also baseless when it comes to public education. Again Steven why do you hate “illegals”? Or do hate any person that looks like an “illegal”?

    Let me repeat all public universities are subsidized and do not charge full costs to any students. Those include Federal Government subsidies.

    As to your “rant” about less money for the poor, yes I can see how those truly conservative states take care of their poor. Oh, I forgot, Texas is one of them. Did Texas accept Federal Money for expanded Medicad? Give us a break Steven if there were no “illegals” here you would be ranting about the Cadillac Mamas.

    As to “illegals” and the English language, wonder why they did better than the English speakers to get accepted into UT or Texas A & M?

  13. Manuel Barrera says:

    Bill, the reason so many people drowned, the sinking of the Titanic, is because they did not have sufficient life boats. Of course, that the ship was not properly designed had a lot to do with it.

  14. Steven Houston says:

    Ross, more students are enrolled in community colleges than full fledged public colleges and universities ( but I was expanding the argument to all levels of education because it illustrates the point. Homeland Security estimates close to 2 million illegals live in Texas with between 200k and 400k children here illegally, all of which get a free education at the expense of the other students. That subsidy impacts those who pay for it directly and those we collectively have less to spend on; again, scarcity of resources (no matter how it comes about). The worse the problem gets, the more affluent flight you get from public schools which leads to less willingness to fund anyone’s education (

    But as I said before, it is the principle involved. If we had money trees supplying an endless stream of free money to spend on any and every project that comes along, we could afford to subsidize the world. Whatever meager amount the feds kick in is driven largely by their share of the free meals program ( while state and local taxpayers fund the bulk of the handouts. Given an illegal has not been allowed to work here, getting a mortgage is not exactly easy because the need to prove income requirements, hence the comment that the bulk of the money paying for schools comes from those here legally.

    As far as Manny’s assertions of racism or hatred, I dismiss those much like his self important claims that he is going to prevent certain political candidates from either gaining or staying in office because they aren’t “Latino enough” for him. Texas has illegal immigrants from all over the world and collectively, they cost us a significant amount of money in education, in use of hospitals, and in all other public services. It would be racist to hate the race but it is not racist to disagree with expanding programs designed to give more benefits to those without legal status.

    I have yet to see any of you show any significant financial acumen when it comes to public finance and spending so I’ll save that discussion for another day. The bottom line is that the feds should be enforcing the law or paying for the resulting costs directly. Now for Manny…

    Manny, public universities such as the two land grant systems, are required by law to take lesser qualified applicants courtesy of HB 588 (10% rule). So a student that outperforms 89% of his peers in a “good” school may not get in while some barely literate mope from a “lousy” school gets a spot. The one getting in did NOT outperform the good student in any rational manner, it is simply another political anachronism that typically results in the less qualified student failing, dropping out, or needing substantially more remedial classes to bring them up to speed.

    Apartments: Clearly you did not read what I said so until you want to comment as if you did, I’ll pass on going into more detail than this: I said some embellish the numbers of illegals by using numbers like 25 but forget the facts since your blinders are on. That you were willing to throw Vietnamese under the bus does show a racist angle in your thinking though.

    Day Labor: Okay, so you know some that don’t have families and you know other illegals that don’t work off the street corner. That doesn’t change the fact that illegals are not allowed to work here and employers are subject to substantial fines for hiring them ( If some of them are committing fraud by using a social security number not issued to them by SSA, that’s just icing on the cake to get rid of them.

    To tie it up, while the numbers are not large, the principles such programs should follow should not benefit those breaking the law. Doing so subsidizes the illegal at the expense of the rest of us and these regular amnesty programs are not addressing the core issues nearly well enough for most citizens.

  15. Bill Daniels says:

    @Manuel Barrera:

    Say the Titanic did have the proper amount of lifeboats when it left England that fateful day. Now imagine that while the ship was steaming toward the US, an endless stream of stowaways boarded the ship. This is what’s happening here. Even if we plan to take care of all the folks illegally here already, more enter or overstay illegally daily. There will always be more people needing a seat in the lifeboat then there are seats.

    To continue the analogy, on the open water it’s “women and children first,” and the land lubber corollary should be “citizens first.”

    Steven Houston has very well reasoned posts here that break down the reasons why Texas, or the US in general, cannot save the whole world. Like him, I don’t have the answer to our illegal alien problem, but rewarding their behavior by continuing to provide benefits to them doesn’t seem to be working too well. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.

  16. Manuel Barrera says:

    Bill had a friend, always used to say if a frog had wings it would not bump its ass all the time.

    What benefits are they receiving Bill, people that are not here legally. Please tell us.

  17. Manuel Barrera says:

    Did you know Steven and Bill that most serial killers and mass murderers in the United States are young white males. Should be your analogical skills and come to the conclusion that all young white males are serial killers and mass murders?

    Steven if you know that 25 people are living in one apartment report it to the City it is a health violation. Do something about it, if what you are saying is true.

    The reason you change topics Steven is because you can’t prove what you state.

    Has Adrian Garcia sign up to run for Mayor yet. Did Mary Ann Perez win?

    Will admit that Garcia may have seen a light as he is now singing a different song.

    Bill if you think that Steven has reasoned posts I feel sorry for you.

    Steven, I threw in Vietnamese to show how racist you are with your comments, you caught it very quickly, good for you there is hope.

    I don’t know what financial acumen you are expecting from me Steven, does the fact that I get more more take home pay retired than when I was working mean anything?

    Does the fact that I have a doctoral degree mean anything, Steven. I worked my way through college Steven.

    What have you accomplished Steven that you hate others that are less fortunate then you?

    Steven, that was a Republican deal right the top 10%. The Dream Act that was Perry that signed it, Rick Noriega was the Democrat that pushed it.

    Steven where did you get that number of “illegal” children in school? Certainly not from the article you cited.

    I don’t like taxes, I don’t like paying more than I have to, and “illegals” make that all possible (less money spent). Businesses get to keep higher profits, only people that should not like it are the ones that are in competition with them for their labor. Every time they do studies they find that they contribute more to the economy than the cost.

  18. Bill Daniels says:

    “Bill had a friend, always used to say if a frog had wings it would not bump its ass all the time.

    What benefits are they receiving Bill, people that are not here legally. Please tell us.”

    What benefits? How about taxpayer funded in-state tuition at state colleges? That is the subject here. Meanwhile, foreign nationals who come to the US legally that want to go to UT and A&M pay the full rack rate.

  19. Steven Houston says:

    Old side step and shuffle Manny is back for another beating. I won’t quote articles or websites since that results in the response being stuck in limbo but:
    1) As long as those “young, white” serial killers are here legally, it has nothing to do with the subject. As I’ve noted in the past, race and skin color are not perfectly correlated with legal status but that might escape Manny’s reasoning skills. Lock them up and toss away the key or execute them, I’m good either way.

    2) You still haven’t read what I said about the 25 to an apartment comment so I’ll leave that alone until you do other than to tell you I have come in contact with numerous situations where I acted upon gained knowledge of far too many living in such a situation.

    3) Garcia: I pointed out that my sources contradicted those NOT cited in the local media while pointing out that he was not the best candidate as long as Turner was in the race.

    4) Your educational status does not impact anything you’ve written here nor lend any of it credibility. If anything, you should consider suing your educators for doing such a poor job.

    5) I dug myself out of the trenches sport, against what many said would never happen and was not possible. If I can do it and do it legally by following the rules, so can others. My entire family helps those less fortunate than ourselves but we realize that focusing one’s efforts brings results, diffusing limited resources to include those not legally here means less for the intended, a major basis for this entire discussion.

    6) The politics behind the Dream Act go far beyond your simple analysis but once again you fail if you think I’m a GOP loyalist.

    7) Homeland Security estimates of illegals in Texas: The numbers vary according to context and how the question is asked, the numbers I cited from their sources were for illegals under 18 that were not born here. By all means go look it up.

    8) Studies on illegal’s impact: You can cherry pick studies all you want, each of them have their own flaws built in an assumptions either side could take exception to, but the amounts bandied about in the studies as to who receives the benefit and who picks up the cost generally find that the public pays the cost. One bipartisan study by the CBO shed some light on the matter awhile back: The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments. That is a good starting point on the billions of dollars illegal immigrants cost us though far from comprehensive (and as our federal government is also running deficit and is responsible for trillions in debt, any “subsidies” to explain off expenditures demanded of states are still coming out of our pockets).

  20. Manuel Barrera says:

    There you go again the two “Mexican” hating persons with their bait and switch. Feel sorry for you two that live your lives hating. Those two would be Bill and Steven, the comedy team from make believe land.

    Steven you admit that the Dream Act goes way beyond your ability, there is hope for you.

    Bill I don’t know your capacity to comprehend. Your life boat analogy is wrong. The article is about higher education. I doubt that you even know that Steven, stated a truth, Texas A&M and UT, have endowments from the state so tuition is subsidized for all, that includes foreign students. They all receive grants from the federal government.

    One question for both you “Mexican” hating duos, how many DREAMERS attend college in Texas?