The Patrick administration’s decision to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants who qualify for work permits carves a new path through the thicket of policies on the issue nationwide, immigration specialists said Tuesday, and could spur other states to follow suit. Massachusetts’ policy shift, which has drawn a backlash from critics since it was announced Monday, marks the first time a state has allowed immigrants who qualify under relaxed federal immigration guidelines to pay the lower resident rate, specialists said.
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