Del. Lopez introduces the DREAM Act


    I don’t really have much comment to add to this story from the Richmond-Times Dispatch other than to note that Alfonso followed through on a key campaign promise that the first bill he introduced would be a state version of the DREAM act.

    In pertinent part the article says:

    Newly elected Del. Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington, is sponsoring House Bill 779, a state version of the DREAM Act, which has languished in Congress for years.

    “The fact is that the policies we have right now as they relate to in-state tuition are harmful to generations of young people who know no other nation but…the United States of America,” Lopez said.

    Isabel Castillo, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 6, spoke in support of the bill.

    A straight-A student in high school, Castillo had problems getting into college because she lacked proper documentation.

    “I didn’t have a Social Security number so I couldn’t apply to go to college or loans, grants, scholarships for anything, even though my parents had lived here for the past 20-plus years, worked and paid taxes,” she said.

    Castillo was finally able to enroll at Eastern Mennonite University and graduated with honors and a degree in social work

    “Getting an education is not a crime so I hope that the rest of the legislators take a courageous stand with Delegate Lopez,” she said.

    The bill’s description from Richmond Sunlight follows:

    In-state tuition; undocumented persons.  Establishes that an undocumented person who is unlawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for in-state tuition unless he meets all of the following criteria: (i) he has resided with his parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis while attending a public or private high school in this state; (ii) he has graduated from a public or private high school in Virginia or has received a General Education Development (GED) certificate in Virginia; (iii) he has resided in the Commonwealth for at least three years since the date he graduated from high school, or for one year if a veteran or an active duty member of the United States armed forces; (iv) he has registered as an entering student in an institution of higher education; (v) he has provided an affidavit to the institution stating that he has filed an application to become a permanent resident of the United States and is actively pursuing such permanent residency or will do so as soon as he is eligible; and (vi) he has submitted evidence that he or, in the case of a dependent student, at least one parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, has filed, unless exempted by state law, Virginia income tax returns for at least three years prior to the date of enrollment.

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