Texas Bill Would Bar Citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia From Studying at State Universities
Last week, Texas Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) introduced House Bill 4736, which would bar citizens of certain countries from enrolling in Texas universities. Similar to other state bills that take aim at the civil liberties of immigrants of specific nationalities, H.B. 4736 would punish foreigners for the sins of their governments—in many cases, the governments they’ve fled to establish better lives in the United States.
H.B. 4736 would ban public institutions of higher education from admitting citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia as students. This would apply to public four-year universities, technical institutes, junior colleges, and medical schools. Undocumented immigrants would also be barred from admission and would be ineligible for resident status under the Texas Education Code. There is no specific language in the bill exempting dual citizens from the ban, meaning a lifelong citizen and resident of the U.S. could be affected if he also happened to be a citizen of a targeted country.
Per the San Antonio Express-News, the legislation “has little chance of advancing this session.” It may be more about sending a message than accomplishing a legislative goal. Even so, H.B. 4736 reflects a rising trend of bills filed in state legislatures—in Texas and elsewhere—that would whittle away at the civil liberties of immigrants who are in the U.S. legally.
In November, state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) introduced Senate Bill 147, which would bar any “individual who is a citizen of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia” from buying property in Texas. Originally, S.B. 147 would have banned home purchases, prompting much concern from Texas’ immigrant communities and several state lawmakers. Kolkhorst has since introduced an amended version that would allow for home purchases. Still, even before that change, Gov. Greg Abbott said he supported the bill.
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