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Philadelphia Inquirer editorial supporting DREAM

Editorial: They're not going away

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Children who grew up in the same neighborhoods and went to the same schools may pay more than their classmates to go to college, if they came to this country illegally.

That may sound fair. But, for the nation, it's a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Greeley teen has the smarts but not the citizenship

Greeley teen has the smarts but not the citizenship

Greeley Central student's illegal immgrant status hinders his hopes to go to college

 

GREEELEY TRIBUNE

DREAMing of a Better Tomorrow: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants

In contrast to the drumbeat of anti-immigrant attacks in past legislative sessions, this year has seen states across the country proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a move mirrored by Congress' proposed DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th.  

DREAMing of a Better Tomorrow: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants

In contrast to the drumbeat of anti-immigrant attacks in past legislative sessions, this year has seen states across the country proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a move mirrored by Congress' proposed DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th.

Dreaming of a Better Tomorrow: In-State Tuition at the Forefront

States across the country are proposing in-state college tuition rates for undocumented students, a move mirrored by Congress' proposed DREAM Act, which was re-introduced at the federal level on March 25th. Currently ten states allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in state colleges and universities under the cheaper in-state tuition rate category: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. In recent years, anti-immigrant legislators sought to modify or repeal laws providing access to in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, though they've failed each time. This session, those efforts failed again in Utah and Nebraska. Kansas didn't even bring up repealing it.

Integrating New Immigrants into our Communities: Smarter Policy, Smarter Politics

The general failure of anti-immigration politics at the polls in recent years has led many state leaders to switch their focus from anti-immigration initiatives to addressing the real challenge of integrating new immigrants into our communities and economy.  This change of strategy is especially critical in a time when we need all in our community working together to revive our states.

In fact, many state leaders have been quietly pursuing smart, integrative policies that promote stronger local communities, protect public safety and save money for the taxpayers.  As Progressive States highlighted in our September 2008 report The Anti-Immigrant Movement That Failed, the majority of both legal and undocumented immigrants live in states that are promoting some version of integrative policies, even as the media continues to focus on the relative handful of state where punitive policies have been enacted.

Integrating New Immigrants into our Communities: Smarter Policy, Smarter Politics

Overview

One key to integrating the children of new immigrants into our communities is making sure they can get a college education.  In 2006, Nebraska joined nine other states that have passed laws, often called DREAM acts, to provide the in-state tuition rate to undocumented immigrants who attend state colleges and universities.  In 2007, the Connecticut legislature voted to do so as well, although unfortunately the Governor in that states vetoed the bill.  Attempts to repeal Nebraska and Utah's DREAM acts failed in both states in 2008.

States can also ensure access to state or locally funded financial aid and scholarships, regardless of immigration status:

  • California's SB 1, which was enacted by the legislature in 2007 but vetoed by the governor, would have made California high school graduates who meet the non-resident in-state tuition requirements eligible for a fee waiver at community college, and enabled them to participate in the Cal Grant state financial aid program.
  • In 2007, New York's proposed A4653 would have expanded scholarship opportunities for immigrant students.

See also:

New PSN Report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed  

New PSN Report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed