Tennessee immigrant tuition bill voted down in House panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee House panel has narrowly voted down a push to offer in-state tuition rates to public college students whose parents brought them to the country illegally, drawing tears from some students in the room.

The House Education Administration & Planning Committee voted 7-6 against the bill Tuesday.

Republican bill sponsor Rep. Mark White of Memphis said the students didn’t choose to enter the country at a young age, many have been in Tennessee almost their whole lives, and they’re victimized by federal inaction.

Republican Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma and more than a dozen lawmakers led a news conference Monday contending that tuition breaks shouldn’t go to students here illegally or under temporary status through an order by former President Barack Obama.

Twenty other states allow the in-state tuition.