Just months after the federal DREAM Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, Republicans in Texas are looking to repeal the state’s version, stating the economic impact of the DREAM Act is costing the state millions of dollars.
Strong opponent of the DREAM Act, Texas Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) has consistently stated the undocumented immigrant students cost the state millions of dollars, precisely $42 million. Interestingly, he has never provided where he gets that number from, and while a large amount of money, $42 million is still only one-seventh of a percent of Texas’ almost $27 billion deficit.
Berman’s estimate is part of his argument that taxpayers should not have to pay for non-taxpayers, and that paying for their education is what costs the state so much. However, as The Washington Independent put it, “If Berman wants to say that taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for non-taxpayers’ education, he should limit his argument to the federal income tax the state of Texas receives, accounting for 42.2 percent of its total revenue. His $42 million is therefore funded to the tune of about $17.7 million by payers of income tax in Texas. Given a population of almost 24.8 million people, repealing the DREAM Act would save the average Texan about 72 cents on their tax returns.”
Texas does not have state income tax, and relies heavily on sales tax instead, which is something all consumers, legal or otherwise have to pay.
Back in December, state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington) filed House Bill 464, which would not allow in-state tuition for Texas colleges or universities to any non-legal resident of the U.S.. The bill has been in the House State Affairs Committee since February. Along with HB 464, is HB 623, which aims to declare the state language English, and was submitted by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton). According to the U.S. Census, more than 31 percent of Texans speak a language other than English at home.