CAIR-FL: Bills Would Block Aid to International Students
(MIAMI, FL, 4/21/2006) - The Florida office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL), along with groups such as Florida Immigration Advocacy Center (FIAC) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at USF, today called for the withdrawal of proposed legislation that would prohibit state funds from being used to provide financial aid to university and college students on visas.
Florida House Bill 205 and Senate Bill 458 target students that hold visas and receive financial support from Florida to attend state schools. A similar bill 2003 HB 31, introduced by Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Jacksonville three years ago targeting some Muslim countries was defeated during the senate hearing.
If the legislation passes, Florida will be the only state that prohibits funds going to international students. According to an analysis by the Association of International Educators, foreign students and their families contributed $626 million in the 2004-2005 academic years. HB 205 would save the State about $8 million.
To view the proposed bills, go to: HB 205
CAIR-FL Executive Director Altaf Ali said there are many who challenge these bills, including from Mark Rosenberg, chancellor of Florida's university system, to Marina Ottaway, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.