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State Legislature approves DREAM Act for immigrants' children

Gov. Jay Inslee praises lawmakers' action.
Gov. Jay Inslee

Gov. Jay Inslee Governor's Office

The DREAM Act. The Real Hope Act. By any name, it's a winner with the state Legislature.

The Washington House passed a Senate version of the bill 75-22 Tuesday to send it to Gov Jay Inslee for his signature. The bill makes Washington high school graduates whose parents are undocumented immigrants eligible to apply for college financial aid.

Recently, the Washington Senate on Friday with a 35-10 vote in favor of letting the children of undocumented immigrants apply for college financial aid. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus version of the bill was a clone of Democratic bills from the 2013 and 2014 sessions, except that it added $5 million to help implement the aid.

This is the first major bill in which the majority coalition members split among themselves in 2013 and 2014. The 35 "yes" votes included 10 Republicans and the two Democratic members of the majority coalition. Ten Republicans voted no. And four conservative Republicans were absent. Also, the majority coalition's bill changed the name of the "DREAM Act" to the "Real Hope Act."

The majority coalition had long blocked the 2013 Democratic bill from coming to a Senate floor vote despite support for the measure from some of its own members. However, that stance was suddenly reversed earlier this month with a surprise announcement of the new version of the bill from several coalition members, including Majority Coalition Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Republican Caucus Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, zipped through Senate without a hearing — moving from introduction to Senate approval in less than 24 hours. That speed irritated some Republican Senators who argued that the new bill should have received a public hearing first.

The bill would add $5 million to the current $267 million college aid pool, from which more than tens of thousands of students can apply for aid. It hasn't been calculated how many new students would receive aid, or what amounts they would be eligible to receive. The source of the extra $5 million also has to be hashed out between the Senate and House's budget negotiators.

"While we’ve opened the doors of our colleges and universities to students from all walks of life, too many still face an insurmountable financial barrier,” Inslee said in a written statement. “This bill ensures that the young men and women we’ve invested in at our high schools and who aspire to become productive American citizens will now have fair access to the financial support they need to turn their dreams into reality."

For exclusive coverage of the state government, check out Crosscut's Under the Dome page.

John Stang is a longtime Inland Northwest newspaper reporter who earned a Masters of Communications in Digital Media degree at the University of Washington. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Wed, Feb 19, 5:31 a.m. Inappropriate

It figures that Inslee, who supports anything illegal alien, would be happy about this BFD. He obviously doesn't care what the increasing population of illegal aliens cost legal citizen, Washington State taxpayers.

From the article " The bill makes Washington high school graduates whose parents are undocumented immigrants eligible to apply for college financial aid."

Wasn't this bill designed to support children who were brought into this country illegally by their parents? They themselves not being legal citizens as opposed to the 4th amendment children who were born here to illegal alien parents? My question to the author if this piece and to the lawmakers who passed it is ( If the parents of the Dreamers are illegal aliens who illegally transported their children into our country, and that is a condition to be eligible for access to the funds, who is identifying and verifying the status of the parents and are they being processed for deportation?) If not, why not? How is this not an illegal gifting of public funds?

Cameron

Posted Wed, Feb 19, 10:40 p.m. Inappropriate

Great to see this sensible bill pass a divided Legislature - and with a large bipartisan majority that reflects the majority of Americans and Washingtonians who support access to education for all.

@Cameron - you say Inslee "supports anything illegal alien" - whatever that means - but then how do you explain Republican support for the WA DREAM Act? From Central and Eastern WA? From rural areas?

And, no, being undocumented is not "a condition to be eligible for access to the funds" - being a WA resident is. They simply expanded the pool to accept more talented youth who dream of going to college. That's a good thing in my opinion. But feel free to stand in the way of their dreams and demonize their parents, that's your right.

Posted Thu, Feb 20, 5:29 p.m. Inappropriate

If those undocumented aka illegal aliens are not legally eligible to work in this country once they graduate...what is the point?

What exactly does being a resident mean? You stayed under the radar in a community long enough to rent an apartment and pay a utility bill?

I would wager that there are tens of millions of people across the globe that would love the opportunity to come to America, get a free education and work without going through any of that messy "process" every legal immigrant has to go through, why not tax legal residents to give them a free education? What are you personally willing to take out of your pocket and pay to support your opinion? Better yet post you address and we can start sending groups of illegal aliens to stay with you and for you to provide housing, healthcare, education. Remember there is no limit to number that should be accepted under your proposal. There simply is not enough money to continue to fund your opinion on a national basis.

Cameron

Posted Wed, Feb 19, 11:57 a.m. Inappropriate

Tim Eyman thanks you for your help.

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Feb 20, 4:39 a.m. Inappropriate

this rates right up there with bike lanes in my opinion,

where is my handout for obeying the law?

salmonjim

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