FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 20, 2018
Contact: Kevin Saucedo-Broach, 571-336-2147, DelALopez@house.virginia.gov
Lopez fights for immigrant families in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. – This week, as the General Assembly met in Richmond to continue its work on the state budget and vote on the Governor’s vetoes and bill recommendations, Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) took the lead in fighting to pass in-state tuition for DACA students and defend the Governor’s veto of the “anti-sanctuary cities” bill, HB 1257.
On Tuesday, Delegate Lopez introduced an amendment to the House budget bill, HB 5002, which would have expanded in-state tuition access for public colleges and universities to undocumented students in Virginia. The amendment is similar to HB 19, the ‘Virginia Dream Act’, which Delegate Lopez introduced in the 2018 session.
“It’s past time that we address this,” said Delegate Lopez on the House Floor. “[Dreamers] live as all Americans do—they serve in the Armed Forces, they work hard and pay taxes, and they’re integral members of our communities.” The amendment was defeated on a party-line vote, 51-49.
“I’m disappointed that the House of Delegates chose to pass by yet another chance to extend a lifeline of opportunity and education to so many of our young Virginians,” said Delegate Lopez. “Every Virginia student deserves the same ability to access higher education and to improve the quality of their lives through hard work and study. I will keep fighting for this issue until it is the law of the Commonwealth.”
On Wednesday, Delegate Lopez led the defense of Governor Northam’s veto of HB 1257, which would have punished localities for enacting “sanctuary” policies designed to protect undocumented immigrants.
“The governor vetoed this bill to ensure that local governments retain the authority and autonomy to make decisions themselves about how to allocate limited resources, as well as protect community-police relations,” said Delegate Lopez in an impassioned speech on the House Floor. “This bill would send a clear message to people across the Commonwealth that state and local law enforcement officials are to be feared and avoided, rather than trusted and engaged…Not only will immigrants be afraid to report crimes as witnesses or victims, or coordinate with police and prosecutors in helping to solve crimes, their fear of doing so will make them easy targets for crime from gangs and bad actors who prey on them. In effect, this legislation makes our communities less safe.”
House Republicans needed 66 votes to override the Governor’s veto of HB 1257. Thankfully, the override vote failed 51-48 on party lines and the Governor’s veto was sustained.