Dem bill incentivizes in-state tuition rates for immigrants

Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would give states that allow immigrants to pay in-state tuition more federal financial aid.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act would encourage states increase access to higher education for low-income students who were illegally brought to the United States by their parents when they were children — also known as Dreamers.

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“All qualified students should have the same opportunities to get a college degree, regardless of their immigration status,” Murray said. “Undocumented students are no different than their classmates. They live in the same towns, attend the same schools, and share the same dreams – and they deserve an equal chance to go to college and start successful careers in this country.”

Some states already allow immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates. The IN-STATE for Dreamers Act would also provide $750 million in need-based student financial aid to states that set in-state tuition rates or offer state financial aid to students in the country illegally who graduate from U.S. high schools.

“When a student has put in the hard work and dedication required to get into college in their home state, it is unconscionable to deny them the chance to continue their education, based solely on higher costs due to a broken immigration system,” Polis said. “This legislation will not only put higher education within reach for de-facto American students, but is an important step forward in reforming our broken immigration system, strengthening our workforce, and improving our economy.”

The Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill last year. That bill would have allowed Dreamers to receive expedited citizenship — something Democrats support. But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has refused to take up that legislation in the House.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) are co-sponsoring the bill.

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