Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told his constituents this week that granting in-state university tuition to undocumented students would amount to “rewarding bad behavior,” even if those students were raised and educated in Florida’s public school system, Think Progress reported.
Sixteen states currently offer in-state tuition for undocumented students. Marihelen Wheeler, a teacher, asked Yoho at a town hall meeting Tuesday if he could support a similar provision for Florida.
“I cannot, because you’re rewarding bad behavior,” Yoho explained.
WHEELER: When children come into my classroom, I can’t ask them if they are documented or not, it’s illegal for me to do that. […] That works very well until they’re 18 years old, and I would like to know if you could support, in Florida, a tuition requirement so they did not have to pay out-of-state tuition if they were raised in Florida, educated in Florida, and are eligible for a college education in Florida? They’re paying three times now tuition for a public school even though they’ve been educated at your expense through that whole public education. Can you support that?
YOHO: I cannot, because you’re rewarding bad behavior. Not of them, of their parents. […] I sit at these groups and they say that we have to do what’s best for the Hispanic group or the American Latino group or the Hispanic American group and the Asian group and the Vietnamese group and the Taiwanese group and it went to the Asian Pacific American group. I was just kind of dumbfounded and said, “wait a minute, how many times are we going to hyphenate America? Can we appease every one of these groups or should we be setting a policy that’s best for America?”
Watch the video below, courtesy of Think Progress.
Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.