Oregon joins California in allowing in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants

SALEM, Ore. (AP) Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed into law a bill allowing young immigrants to pay resident tuition at the state's seven public universities.

After signing the measure Tuesday, Kitzhaber declared: "My friends, the dream has become a reality."

Starting next school year, immigrants who were brought to the United States as children (but are not legal residents) and graduated from an Oregon high school would pay the subsidized college tuition charged to Oregon residents. That's a savings of about $20,000 a year.

Proponents say young people shouldn't be priced out of college because their parents chose to immigrate illegally. Critics say the state shouldn't be subsidizing a college education for people who violated immigration laws.

At least 14 other states have similar laws. Colorado's Legislature approved a tuition bill, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he'll sign it. California and Texas were the first states to enact legislation in 2001, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

__ staff contributed to this report.