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Virginia Senate Republicans Kill 'Dream Act' Bill in Committee Vote

"These young people are a part of our communities, and they’re not going to disappear tomorrow," said Sen. Adam Ebbin. "So why wouldn’t we give them this tool to succeed in and contribute to those communities?”

Thursday morning the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to kill a bill to allow students with deferred action status to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. File photo by James Cullum
Thursday morning the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to kill a bill to allow students with deferred action status to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. File photo by James Cullum

Thursday morning the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to kill SB 249, a bill to allow students with deferred action status to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements, including established roots in the community and a family history of paying taxes.

SB 249 was introduced by Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico) and chief co-patroned by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D – Alexandria) and Sen. Dave Marsden (D – Fairfax). It failed in a party-line, 6-7 vote.

The proposed legislation met a similar fate last year. (Read: Virginia Dream Act Dies in House.)

The votes Thursday were:

YEAS: Saslaw, Lucas, Howell, Locke, Barker, Miller-6

NAYS: Martin, Newman, Smith, McWaters, Black, Carrico, Garrett-7.

Senator Adam Ebbin said, “This bill is limited to students with DACA status. The federal government has authorized them to remain here; they’re already able to work and drive. These young people are a part of our communities, and they’re not going to disappear tomorrow. So why wouldn’t we give them this tool to succeed in and contribute to those communities?”

Senator A. Donald McEachin said, “By giving these young people an opportunity to achieve higher education, they are more likely to become even greater contributors to our society. These students are here through no fault of their own and who have known no other home. I’m disappointed that Republicans chose to withhold those opportunities. ”

Senator Janet Howell (D – Reston) said, “Our leaders in the federal government aren’t doing their jobs, and as a result, students are losing access to the kind of high-quality education Virginia can provide. If the feds won’t act, we need to act, instead. This bill should have passed.”

Similar proposed legislation in the House of Delegates, HB747, introduced by Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon) with support from co-patron Del. Ken Plum is awaiting a vote in the Education Committee. Another House bill, HB88, was also introduced by Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) with support from co-patron Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), and also awaits a vote in the Education Committee.

Last month students who graduated from Virginia high schools filed a lawsuit  in an attempt to overturn a decision by the State Council of Higher Education that makes them ineligible for in-state tuition rates. 

Also read: 
Immigrant Students Sue for In-State College Tuition Rates in Virginia
William Campenni January 26, 2014 at 12:23 PM
These delegates so anxious to give illegal aliens need to know that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, § 8 USC 1623(a) provides that: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizens or national is such a resident." That means that out-of-state students would sue under the provisions of IIRIRA 8 USC 1623(a) and upon winning would have their tuition lowered to In-State rates. On average across the state university spectrum, this would mean that their tuition would be lowered $14,000 (from $24,000 to $10,000, using last year’s numbers. With 29,961 out-of-state students in the Virginia system, this would be a state-wide tuition loss of over $400 MILLION. And you thought the Transportation shortfall was a problem! Remember, most tuition is paid by parents. The compassion for giving illegal alien “children” tuition aid is in effect a levy on American citizen parents to be given over to illegal alien parents, for whom it cannot be said they are innocent victims, being the original and intentional law violators. Delegate Rust need to do some soul-searching on his submission of this bill, and needs to apologize to the parents of hard working American citizens who will have to pay the bills.

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