Contact: Jason Stanford
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 11, 2013
Delegate Lopez launches petition to pass the Virginia DREAM Act
(Arlington, VA ) Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) has launched an online petition at www.alfonsolopez.org/dreamactnow for supporters of the Virginia DREAM Act.
The Tuition Equity Act – also known as the Virginia DREAM Act – would allow undocumented immigrant students who have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to apply for in-state tuition at Virginia Colleges and Universities.
“This is the right thing to do, not just from a moral perspective, but also from an economic development perspective” said Lopez. “We invest in these students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, but put up a barrier after graduation that only serves to drive away top talent from Virginia.”
Last year, Delegate Lopez’s Tuition Equity legislation gained traction with the creation of the DACA program, which allows undocumented students to obtain a lawful status in the United States. The legislation received support from a diverse coalition of business leaders, state colleges and universities, religious organizations, education advocates, and immigrant rights groups.
The bill was combined with legislation from Delegate Tom Rust (R-Herndon) and passed unanimously by the House’s Higher Education Subcommittee and 17-4 by the full House Education Committee. The bill was then sent to the House Appropriations Committee, which refused to review the legislation before a procedural deadline, effectively killing it for the year.
“I think we turned some heads last year with the success we had in the House of Delegates” said Lopez. “As I talk to more and more of my colleagues in the General Assembly about this issue, I think we have momentum heading into the 2014 Session.”