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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bachmann’s Wrong on Texas Tuition

Michele Bachmann is wrong to say allowing illegal immigrants in Texas to pay in-state tuition is “an abuse of an executive power.” Gov. Rick Perry did not impose the policy by executive fiat. The Legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill in 2001, and Perry signed it.

Minnesota Rep. Bachmann — who has criticized Perry’s executive order on HPV vaccines as an inappropriate use of power — made her statement in a Web video posted Sept. 29.

Bachmann, Sept. 29: We can’t settle for a president who would encourage more illegal immigration through magnet policies, like tuition breaks for illegal aliens or their children. That’s an abuse of an executive power.

That’s just not true. The change in tuition policy followed the usual legislative process.

The bill passed by votes of 142-1 in the House and 27-3 in the Senate. The Houston Chronicle wrote: “The surprise at such potentially polarizing issues passing the House and Senate is surpassed only by wonder at the ease with which they have been approved.”

Of course, Perry could have chosen not to sign the bill. But he signed it on June 16, 2001 — four months after it was introduced. “We want bright, new Texans to stay here, and contribute great things to our future,” he said in a speech six days after signing the bill.

— Eugene Kiely