Re; SB 233 as passed the senate (SB233/CFSA)
Update: I retract the below correction apology clarification and apology
Correction: The conclusion I came to and posted here regarding eligibility of students for the proposed new state grant known as the “Promise Scholarship” in SB 233 was inaccurate. I wrote that aliens illegally paroled for admission into the United States by the Biden administration would be eligible for the proposed new benefit. That conclusion is wrong. In fact, eligibility for the benefit requires that a student be a United States citizen or a “permanent resident alien” (green card holder) who meets the definition of an eligible noncitizen under federal Title IV requirements.” That restriction does not include recipients of Biden’s illegal parole as I wrote. I deeply regret the obvious error. As Georgia’s only full time pro-enforcement voice on immigration, we strive for accuracy and have promised swift correction on any inaccurate information. I have proven that no matter how many times one checks his work, if the same glaring error is repeated in the analysis process the conclusion will be flawed. One of the first things I was taught as a seventeen-year-old recruit was that “Marines do not make excuses.” That said, I wish I had paid much closer attention in grade school class on Roman numerals. Including state Rep Will Wade, and Senator Colton Moore’s Chief of Staff Michael Gargiulo, many thanks to the various people who politely convinced me to check my work yet again. I am profoundly sorry for my mistake and grateful for the confidence so many people show for our credibility.
Clarification: As the state-funded private school tuition scholarship proposed in SB 233 would benefit entire families, we have been consistent in our opinion that students and “parents” (applicants) be U.S. citizens or green card holders (“LPRs” – Lawful Permanent Residents).
I have repeatedly pointed out that we see no provision that “parents” are required to have that status – or have any lawful immigration status. Due to the involvement of “parents” in the application process, oversight authority and apparent ability to access payments for “certain qualified education expenses,” we believe the absence of that language is crucial in any judgment of the pro-enforcement fairness and viability of the measure. Please see more on parents here.
We are of the opinion that any new “Promise Scholarship” would be a state grant public benefit under OCGA 50-36-1 and that applicants (“parents”) would be required to complete the verification of “lawful presence” in that code section. Assuming this is the case, it would not alone limit the participation of “parents” to U.S. citizens or LPRs. It would allow “parents”
with non-immigrant visas and Biden’s illegal parole to apply and participate. We respectfully recommend that legislators educate themselves on this matter.
In the interest of “a belt and suspenders” clarity, the bill should contain language on this point. We also note that similar previous legislation did not require students to be U.S. citizens or LPRs, only cited 50-36-1 as an eligibility and verification reference and was murky in it’s language and wrong in its presentation.