In a carefully parsed response to a question from WTN’s Ralph Bristol on Wednesday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd said he agreed with a recent opinion issued by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery that the matter of charging in-state tuition for illegal aliens is the responsibility of the Tennessee General Assembly. But, Boyd added, our “[state] universities are not at capacity,” and, just like a hotel, we should not keep paying students away by charging them “triple” out-of-state tuition, but instead should charge them “full” in-state tuition.
This is the precise language used by in-state-tuition advocates State Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) and State Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) in their recent attempts to push in-state-tuition for illegals through the Tennessee General Assembly.
Gardenhire and White are expected to re-introduce that legislation to the Tennessee General Assembly when it convenes next month.
The recent Tennessee Star poll shows the support of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants is potentially toxic to a campaign aiming to earn a majority of Republican primary voters in 2018.
A staggering 88 percent of Republican primary voters polled say they oppose providing taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition to illegal immigrant students versus a mere 6 percent who did not – which is 14-to-1 against the policy Boyd seems to cheer.
Bristol then closed the interview with a straightforward question regarding Boyd’s position on so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Again, the Knoxville-area businessman opted for a precisely phrased response that does not address the issue directly, but rather defers to the legality of the policy at the moment.
“It’s simply illegal,” Boyd began, followed by an analogy that is well-worn on the campaign trail: “I don’t think we have to opportunity to be a ‘sanctuary house’ and not pay the federal income tax; cities don’t have the opportunity to be a ‘sanctuary city’ and ignore federal law.”
Republican primary voters nationally vehemently oppose “sanctuary city” policy in the 80 percent range.
Whether or not appearing with Bristol Wednesday helped his primary campaign; showcased the reasons for his nickname “La Raza” Randy Boyd; or just fueled more questions as to where his loyalties lie (with Tennesseans or with illegal immigrants and their children) remains to be seen.
Listen and read along to Bristol’s questions and Boyd’s answers in the last, illuminating minutes of the interview:
TRANSCRIPT beginning at 7:43min
One more question quickly before I have to let you go.
The Attorney General has given his opinion that only the state lawmakers can allow public institutions to give in-state tuition to illegal residents – the DREAMers children. I don’t remember if you’ve articulated your position on giving in-state tuition to DREAMers – the illegal imigrant children.
So I haven’t gotten a chance to review the Attorney General’s total report, but I think he’s right that this is something that the legislature would probably have the right to make the decision on. And I think that on the issue itself, I don’t believe that the state should be providing additional benefits for people that are illegal in our state. (emphasis added)
So you would not would not give in-state tuition – we’re not going to give in-state tuition to people from Kentucky, and we’re not going to give in-state tution to people who are not supposed to be here are at all. Right?
I think that’s true and I think this my be a longer conversation for another interview, but I think there is also a concern that I have about us being able to attract more talent around the country and around the world into our universities. Many of our universities are not at capacity. If you’ve got a hotel, and you have 30 percent empty rooms, you don’t charge 300 percent more to those last few rooms. The variable cost is fairly small in filling those up. We’ve got a lot of those universities that would actually make a significant amount of money charging just the normal, full tuition – rather than charging a penalty of triple. So I think we need to look at our overall tuition policy. But that’s a more broader conversation that has not really anything to do with- (emphasis added)
Okay. And just very briefly while we’re on the subject – and it shouldn’t take more than a second – “Sanctuaries.” Have you thought about “sanctuary cities” and whether states ought to allow or discourage “sanctuary cities?”
Yeah; I’ve been very vocal on this for quite some time now. It’s simply illegal. I don’t think we have to opportunity to be a “Sanctuary House” and not pay the federal income tax; cities don’t have the opportunity to be a “sanctuary city” and ignore federal law. So it’s just simply illegal. As governor, we won’t allow it.
Randy, thank you. Thanks for joining us. I appreciate the time and we will will talk about soon. Take care. [crosstalk] Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care.
[crosstalk] Thanks a lot, Ralph. Merry Christmas to you, too.