First Lady meets with visiting Fox |

First Lady meets with visiting Fox

The Associated Press

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (AP) – First Lady Laura Bush said Thursday it is up to states, not the federal government, to decide whether state universities should offer reduced tuition to non-citizens.

Speaking at suburban Los Angeles elementary school, Mexican President Vicente Fox asked Mrs. Bush to use her influence to help Mexicans working in the U.S. get an affordable university education.

Mrs. Bush listened without comment, but told The Associated Press afterward that the federal government should not be involved.

”I think that’s something that’s really left up to the state,” she said.

Gov. Gray Davis, who accompanied Mrs. Bush and Fox to Morningside Elementary School, has said it would be too expensive to offer in-state tuition to non-citizens.

But Fox’s plea won repeated standing ovations from the largely Latino crowd of parents.

”I want to, with full respect, ask the first lady of this country to ask President Bush to do anything … so that every single young person in this country – legal or illegally being here – should have the same opportunities to be in a university,” Fox said to roars of approval from the parents.

Some 95 percent of the school’s 1,200 students are Hispanic.

A mariachi band entertained the crowd and children sang in Spanish, waving Mexican flags as Fox left.

Later at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Mrs. Bush called for universities to encourage students to teach for two years after graduation, and said retired military personnel also should be recruited to teaching jobs.

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