CT postpones vote on tuition aid for illegal immigrants

  • Connecticut lawmakers have postponed a vote on a bill that would extend financial aid to illegal immigrant students after a prominent supporter was arrested for vandalizing the University of Connecticut.
  • UConn student Eric Cruz Lopez reportedly confessed to more than 100 charges of vandalism related to anti-Trump graffiti, after which embarrassed lawmakers called off the scheduled vote.

The Connecticut House of Representatives on Tuesday postponed a vote on a bill that would give illegal immigrants financial aid following the arrest of a student activist earlier this month.

The chamber delayed the vote scheduled for last week after Eric Cruz Lopez, a native of Mexico, was charged with spray-painting expletives about President Trump on the University of Connecticut campus, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Cruz was charged with more than 100 counts of misdemeanor vandalism on May 7, and reportedly confessed responsibility in a statement to the police.

[RELATED: UW profs: vandal’s arrest contributes to ‘oppressive,’ ‘threatening’ campus]

Prior to his arrest, Lopez was one of the leading immigration activists on campus, strongly backing the measure to give illegal immigrants access to financial aid at the state's public universities.

Following the results of the 2016 presidential election, Cruz also led a march on campus demanding that the university implement policies to protect students from potentially aggressive immigration policies of the new administration.

"I have been worried about paying for college since I was 10, knowing that because we had to go to a food pantry to get food, paying for my education was going to be hard," Cruz, who came to the U.S. at the age of 7, told the AP.

[RELATED: AZ students raise money to supply illegal border-crossers]

According to the report, the postponed legislation would have allowed immigrants with special visas under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order to utilize $165 million in institutional financial aid at public colleges and universities around the state.

“It’s frustrating to see this one person’s action, in a moment in time, hurt the hopes and dreams of hundreds of Connecticut college students, putting their hopes and dreams out of reach,” said Democratic State Sen. Beth Bye. “His actions are not indicative at all of who these students are.”

Some conservatives around the country have blasted the state's legislative effort, arguing that the arrest of Cruz clearly demonstrates that the students should not have access to more financial assistance.

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Nikita Vladimirov
Nikita Vladimirov | Correspondents Editor

Nikita Vladimirov is a Correspondents Editor for Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, he wrote for The Hill, where he extensively covered the latest political developments in U.S. and around the world. A 2016 national finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists' "Mark of Excellence Award," Nikita now resides in Washington D.C. and contributes to the Washington Examiner. His work has appeared on the front pages of The Drudge Report and The Hill, and has been featured by leading media organizations including Fox News, MSN, Real Clear Defense and many others.

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