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Texas to debate ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants

A Republican state representative has filed legislation to roll back the Texas DREAM Act, a 2001 law allowing undocumented residents to pay in-state tuition at public colleges if they graduate from a state high school.

The bill's sponsor, State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R), who represents a district near Dallas, said the DREAM Act is part of the reason immigrants come to Texas in the first place.

"It is time to put Texas children first. That is why I filed a bill to repeal in state college tuition for illegals," Stickland said in a Twitter message Thursday. "No more handouts, freebies, or reduced prices for people who break the law," he added Friday on Facebook.

Conservatives have tried to roll back the law before. A 2015 effort to end in-state tuition died without receiving a vote. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has called for reforming the 2001 program, and he said he would not veto a full repeal if it reached his desk.

Texas's version of the DREAM Act played a high-profile role in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, when rivals accused then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) of being soft on immigration when he signed the bill.

Leading in the polls, Perry pushed back when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney attacked the bill in a 2011 debate.

"[I]f you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart," Perry said.

Perry's poll numbers went into free-fall virtually over night. It was not until the following debate when Perry forgot one of three federal departments he would eliminate as president.

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