The bill that would enable undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition for college is heading to the governor’s desk after getting final legislative approval. Gov. Dannel Malloy says he will sign it.

In a curious statement confirming he would sign the bill, Malloy said, “This bill isn’t controversial, it’s common sense. At a time when we need to be helping our state’s young men and women prepare for an ever-changing economy and compete with their counterparts in China, Japan and elsewhere, helping to make a college degree more accessible and affordable for those students who choose to pursue one is critically important… I look forward to signing this bill into law, and with it, an increased opportunity for our state’s students to succeed in whatever path they choose.”

First, the bill was one of the most controversial of the entire 2011 session. To ignore why it so contentious (which exactly what Malloy does) is to short-change the legislators who supported it and to be less than honest about what the bill does.

The Shad supports the bill. But I refuse to ignore the arguments of those who oppose it. They contend that it is in conflict with federal law and that it is unfair to students who are legal citizens but may live over the border in neighboring states—they wouldn’t get the discount.

The Shad comes down on the side of those who recognize that the state already has a deep investment in these students and almost without exception, they’re here illegally through no fault of their own. They don’t deserve to be penalized. And the controversial nature of the bill shouldn’t be papered over by the governor.

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