In-state Tuition

Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by Cynthia Kendoll

House Bill 2787 – Instate Tuition Benefits for students illegally in the United States

It doesn’t matter which side of the immigration debate you’re on. 

In order for a law to be good, it has to be specific, actionable, and deliver what it promises. 

HB 2787 fails that test.

Section 18 d. stipulates that to be eligible for the benefits of this bill, a person has to “intend” to become a citizen.  This overlooks two key facts:

First, the State of Oregon has no standing to determine this intent.   Any attempt to do so would amount to guesswork. 

Second, in order for illegal aliens to pursue citizenship, they must return to their country of origin and  reside there while following the process legally.  This would preclude any student from obeying the provisions of the bill. Even the DACA program does not convey citizenship.

The only way that this bill could become broadly applicable is with the passage of a mass amnesty at a Federal level, as many pundits and politicians have suggested is “inevitable.”

However, we must consider that several major amnesties have come before Congress in the past twenty years, under presidents from both parties, and not a single one has become law.  The current amnesty push that is being foisted on the American people is already beginning to come apart at the seams.

Wouldn't it make more sense to wait until the Federal immigration issue is resolved before rushing to pass state laws that could contradict Federal law?

Clearly, banking on a Federal amnesty to make enforceable the provisions of this bill is reckless and shortsighted. 

This bill is bad for several reasons, but one reason should concern advocates from both sides of the debate:  The fact that HB 2787 still promises far more than it can deliver.

Thank you.

Cynthia Kendoll, Salem, OR


Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by David Olen Cross

February 13, 2013

Oregon House Committee
Higher Education and Workforce Development
900 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301

Testimony: No on HB 2787, instate tuition for international students illegally in the country.

Honorable Chairman Dembrow, Vice-Chairmen Harker and Huffman, and Committee Members:

My name is David Olen Cross and I am a resident of Salem, Oregon.

One of the great misnomers used by proponents of House Bill 2787 is to describe the legislation as “tuition equity” when what HB 2787 would do is to provide instate tuition to a special interest group of international students illegally in the country, while at the same time excluding those same benefits to legal American citizens in neighboring states — and proponents call that “tuition equity”.

Problematic with HB 2787 is the legislation has no sunset clause that would limit number of illegal international students who could receive instate tuition in the future; a lack of a sunset clause in the legislation will place a heavy economic burden on the Oregon’s higher education system, cause an increase in tuition rates for students attending the state’s public universities and colleges, and cause an increased taxpayer burden to support state’s higher education system.

Crunching some numbers from neighboring Western Oregon University (WOU), for years 2012-2013, the estimated undergraduate tuition and fees (15-credits per term) for an Oregon resident is $8,529 per year, while an international student is $21,114 per year. Under HB 2787, WOU would be required to cut individual tuition and fees costs for illegal international students attending the university by $12,585 per year. The result of the legislation becoming law, WOU would lose over a four-year period for every illegal international student attending the university $50,340. Committee members: Who is going to make up the tuition shortfall? — The universities and colleges? — The students? — The taxpayers?

Also problematic with SB 2787 is the limited amount of years that would be required for illegal international students to spend in Oregon’s public schools to receive the benefit of instate tuition. A time of just three years attending an Oregon high school is not long enough for them or their foreign national parents, likewise illegally in the country, to have contributed enough in taxes to the bricks and mortar, the infrastructure, of Oregon’s universities and colleges to merit instate tuition.

Although Oregon taxpayers are often generous when it comes to the issues surrounding funding education, what might be considered as real “tuition equity” by the state’s taxpayers is that illegal international students must have completed at a minimum K-12 in the state’s public education system to be eligible to receive instate tuition.

A final recognizable flaw with HB 2787 is the legislation fails to put students who are United States citizens in the state (residents), students who are U.S. citizens from other states (non residents), and students who are foreign nationals (legal international students with visas from their countries of origin) first in line to attended Oregon’s universities and colleges, particularly in limited enrollment programs. Students legally present in the country should always be given first priority to enroll in the state’s universities and colleges.

Chairman Dembrow, Vice-Chairmen Harker and Huffman, and Committee Members, I thank the committee for hearing my testimony in opposition to HB 2787.

David Olen Cross
Salem OR

Rep. Michael Dembrow, Chairman                           Rep. Vic Gilliam
Rep. Chris Harker, Vice-Chairman                           Rep. Chris Gorsek
Rep. John Huffman, Vice-Chairman                         Rep. Mitch Greenlick
Rep. Mark Johnson,                                                  Rep. Gene Whisnant
Rep. Joe Gallegos,


Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by E. Van Staaveren



by Elizabeth Van Staaveren, McMinnville OR

Chair Dembrow, Members of the Committee:

I oppose HB 2787 for many reasons.

First of all, I think legislators should be looking for ways to reduce illegal immigration, rather than rewarding and encouraging it.  Immigration control is not solely a federal responsibility.  There are many things states can do to help the federal government enforce immigration laws.  I am including paragraphs on that subject at the end of my testimony.

Citizens are having a very hard time now, and legislators’ responsibility is to them, not to the citizens of other countries.  Legislators should be working to pass mandatory E-Verify, which could help citizens enormously.  The E-Verify program is accurate and ready for expansion.  There are no truly valid reasons to oppose it.  Those who do, we can assume, want illegal immigration to continue.

Some legislators claim that giving in-state tuition won’t cost anybody anything.  The university officials who stated that the cost of giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens actually brings an increase to the university’s funds are unbelievable.  Tuition costs at state colleges are subsidized by taxpayers, and the size of the student body is closely linked to the overall cost of maintaining a college. 

The costs of maintaining colleges and educating citizen students will be much greater if large numbers of illegal aliens are given in-state tuition.  Nobody knows how many will apply. The bill does not mention any numerical limits, and there is no ending date.  Citizen students could easily lose places in college if in competition with illegal aliens and that is extremely unjust, no matter what the circumstances of the illegal alien are.  Citizenship and the rule of law must mean something, or our country is in deep trouble. 

Legislators, please think of all the unemployed and underemployed citizens, many of whom have been out of work for long periods, are hungry and sleeping in parks and on the streets.  This is mostly because they can’t get jobs; illegal aliens are preferred because they can be paid under the table and at lower wages than would apply if our immigration laws were honestly enforced.  Illegal labor has taken over the construction industry, many hotel and restaurant jobs, and illegal aliens are found in professional occupations also.

It is the illegal alien parents of illegal students who are to blame for their illegal alien children’s situation.  The whole family including parents and children should be deported.  They will not need to “live in the shadows” there, and the children, educated at U.S. citizens’ expense, can contribute their knowledge and talents to the country where they are legally entitled to live.



by Elizabeth Van Staaveren

It's unreasonable to say or imply that only the federal government can deal with immigration issues, as some Oregon legislators have claimed.  Many states have already passed effective laws that reduce illegal immigration within the state. 

Instead of spending time devising benefits for illegal aliens, Oregon legislators could and should do much more to discourage illegal immigration.  Benefits to illegal aliens such as in-state tuition and driving privileges legitimize illegal immigration and entice more of it.  This is very harmful to citizens who must compete with illegal aliens for education and jobs at a time of widespread unemployment.  Also our country is overcrowded already, and the message to the world that we do not enforce our immigration laws will quickly overwhelm this nation.

A plethora of state action against illegal immigration is possible.  Rep. Kim Thatcher (House District 25, Salem) is a member of the national group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (, formed in 2007, now including members in 41 states.  Their mission statement:  “to provide a network of state legislators who are committed to working together in demanding full cooperation among our federal, state and local governments in eliminating all economic attractions and incentives (including, but not limited to: public benefits, welfare, education and employment opportunities) for illegal aliens, as well as securing our borders against unlawful invasion.”

In 2009, Rep. Thatcher introduced a number of bills in the Legislature dealing with immigration, none of which moved forward because of the lack of support from other legislators, in particular the Democratic Party leadership.  Rep. Thatcher's news release of 3/19/09 listed her proposed bills.  The number and range of the bills show how much a motivated legislature could do to stop illegal immigration. 

ORS 181.850 now actually hinders and restricts cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.  The Legislature should untie the hands of local police and allow them unimpeded cooperation.  Mr. David Cross has devoted many hours to tracking crimes by illegal aliens.  His monthly reports on criminal aliens in the Oregon State prison system give shocking statistics on the large numbers of foreign nationals convicted of serious crimes who have ICE holds placed on them, meaning they will be turned over the immigration authorities at the ends of their sentences.   Mr. Cross also reports on the hundreds of criminal aliens incarcerated in town and county jails as well as in the state prisons. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures, in the Issues & Research section of its website, has a section on immigration, including semi-annual reports on state laws related to immigrants and immigration.  The report for Jan. 1-June 30, 2012 is at  It shows that many states are passing laws to help control illegal immigration.

The website of the Immigration Reform Law Institute ( has a section on State Cooperative Enforcement. Throughout the site there are references to various state actions related to immigration enforcement.  IRLI is affiliated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

More references on state laws related to immigration:

States can address the negative impacts of illegal immigration using tools they already have, by Ronald W. Mortensen.  Center for Immigration Studies, July 5, 2012.

Immigration isn’t just a federal matter; [interview with Kris Kobach on state vs. federal authority in immigration matters] by Terry Baynes, Thomson Reuters News and Insight, April 16, 2012.

An overview of E-Verify policies at the state level, by Jon Feere, Center for Immigration Studies, July 2012.

Controlling illegal immigration; state and local governments must do more, by Matt A. Mayer, August 24, 2009.   29 p.    (Heritage Foundation Special Report)

Congressional Research Service.  Authority of state and local police to enforce federal immigration law, by Michael John Garcia and Kate M. Manuel, September 10, 2012    (CRS report for Congress 7-5700, R41423)   198059.pdf

Federation for American Immigration Reform.   Legislation in the States.

Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by L. Vandermolen

To the Members of the Committee of Higher Education and Workforce Development

No one wants to punish illegal alien students because of the actions of their parents, but I wonder if HB 2787 will punish taxpayers instead.

Each in-state American college student represents about $20,000 in deficit spending for each $7,000 annual tuition he pays. Yet, Rep. Denbrow’s office claims that undocumented Oregonians won’t create the same $20,000 deficit, just pure profit. The Effect on Expenditure Report says so

.A staffer from Rep. Denbrow’s office told me that each “undocumented Oregonian’s” tuition money would enrich a college that wouldn’t have had it otherwise, meaning he’s a money-maker, as long as the college doesn’t need more classrooms or teachers. How do American students create a deficit while illegally present students represent pure profit? You can’t have it both ways. But as a business person, I’m unimpressed with the creative explanations of the Legislative Fiscal Office. Also, I don’t trust the claims from politicians who can raise my taxes or my kid’s tuition to cover debt they create, intentional or not. I don’t even know if you will examine the tax records of the parents to see if they’ve paid into our system.

If you’re going to pass HB 2787, what will you do for citizens in return to stop luring illegal aliens to Oregon in the first place? You have refused almost every opportunity to end magnets in the past, with the exception of stopping drivers licenses.

The state never passed an E-Verify bill or stopped employers from deducting illegal labor as a business expense, a practice that undercuts honest employers. Oregon didn’t even pass the bill that would have sent non-violent criminal aliens home early, thus cutting prison costs.

Instead, you have protected illegal immigration as if it’s the role of citizens to tolerate corruption and lawlessness, and to ignore our representational dilution. For instance, supporters of HB 2787 were given unlimited time to speak while opponents were given only a token opportunity of twenty minutes at the hearing.

If taxpayers must assume liability for this bill I want assurance that you will resurrect the other bills that will prevent more of the same problems in the future. Representative Dembrow claims that ending magnets is strictly a federal responsibility, but Oregon’s failure to stop magnets at the state level when it could have mirrors federal failure. The state’s habit of placating illegal aliens and their employers but not citizens, indicates highly selective compassion. You can’t reward lawlessness indefinitely without our rule of law or our taxpayers collapsing. I urge you to bring back the state E-Verify bill, end labor write-offs, and pass the early removal bill as a sign that you want to protect the value of citizenship while assisting the students.


Lyneil Vandermolen, Tualatin OR


Testimony on HB 2787, Feb. 13, 2013, by R. LaMountain

Testimony of Richard F. LaMountain

House Bill 2787, Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee

Oregon House of Representatives, February 13, 2013


Gentlemen, thank you for the chance to testify.  My name is Richard LaMountain.   I  live in Washington County.

Please oppose House Bill2787.   "Tuition equity" is a misnomer.   Granting in-state tuition to young people here illegally would give them chances not equal, but in many cases superior, to those of American citizens seeking the same educational and professional opportunities.

In this debate, few have raised the issue of affirmative action.  Most of the illegal immigrants this bill favors would qualify as federal "protected minorities" -- and, thereby, for affirmative-action preferences over those who do not qualify as such, including the majority of American citizens.  These preferences would enable illegal immigrants who were helped into an Oregon university by in-state tuition to compete with and, in many cases, to beat American citizens for positions in post-graduate academic and professional programs over the course of their entire lives.

Affirmative action originally was intended to assure that black American citizens, after decades of suppression, would have access to educational and occupational opportunities.  It would pervert that intent to give foreign citizens, especially those here illegally, the in-state tuition that would enable the vast majority of them to access, in turn, the affirmative-action preferences that would give them a competitive edge over American citizens long into the future.

Please remember: Whatever the circumstances of an illegal immigrant's arrival in this country, our nation's foremost responsibility is to its own people -- its own citizens. House Bill 2787 would violate that responsibility.

Gentlemen, the session is barely into its second week, yet you've scheduled a work session on the bill for this Friday.  I urge you: on Friday, do not vote to send this bill to the House floor.  This early in the session very few Oregonians are yet tuned in, and most don't even know this bill has been introduced.  Many of them ultimately may wish to weigh in with you on this issue, and they have a right to do so.  So out of respect for your constituents, for the democratic process, and for your own deliberative responsibilities, please vote on this bill not this Friday but later in the session.

                  Thank  you.

Richard F. LaMountain, Portland OR


Written Testimony on HB 2787, March 19, 2013, Senate Hearing, by opponents


David Olen Cross  --

Mike Eidem --

Clifford Girod –

Daryl, Brenda, and Bailey Hallgrimson  --

Cynthia Kendoll --

Jim Ludwick --

Carol Mohr --

Rep. Julie Parrish – [She voted for HB 2787 in the House, but at the Senate Hearing, she spoke for equal consideration for veterans.]

Rebecca Roth --

Elizabeth Van Staaveren --

Additional opponents testified orally and did not submit written materials for the record.  Some opponents submitted written testimony only and did not speak at the Hearing.