3/12: New Partnerships Help Open Doors to Education for Immigrant Students
- 3/12: New Partnerships Help Open Doors to Education for Immigrant StudentsFrom: broder@...
Hi everyone. Thanks again for sharing news about your efforts to improve or defend access to education for immigrant students. An updated table of the immigrant education bills moving through state legislatures is posted on the National Immigration Law Center’s website at http://www.nilc.org/statebillsedu.html. Below is a short update of recent developments. In particular, we want to highlight several new partnerships that help open doors to education for immigrant students.
Please contact Tanya Broder at broder@... if you have any corrections or additions.
Defending Against Proposed Ban on Admission to College
- Georgia’s bill, which, as originally drafted, was intended to ban admission to all of the state’s public colleges for students who cannot verify lawful presence, passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 19. Advocacy to defeat this proposal continues as it moves to the House. A similar measure recently died in the House. Currently, undocumented students are barred from attending the five most competitive institutions in Georgia. Azadeh Shahshahani from the ACLU of Georgia and a DREAMer from Georgia were interviewed on Democracy Now. The program highlights the formation of “Freedom University,” where volunteers provide college-level instruction to academically qualified students, regardless of their status. Check it out!
Attempts to Restore In-State Tuition
- In Indiana, an attempt to restore in-state tuition for about 200 undocumented students who were enrolled in a state educational institution on or before July 1, 2011 derailed an expansive education bill. The measure passed the House, and moved out of the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 8 to 2, but was held by the Senate due to concerns about the amendment.
Building Support for “Standard” Tuition Rates
- Colorado advocates continue to build support for ASSET, which provides a “standard” tuition rate (higher than in-state but lower than out-of-state rates) to students who meet certain criteria regardless of their status. The bill, which has been approved preliminarily by the Senate, allows colleges to “opt out” of offering these rates. Supporters are trying to secure the approval of all 28 college governing boards before sending the measure to the House. Fort Lewis College recently became the 25th to back the bill. The newly launched American Dream Political Action Committee, founded by seven prominent Latinas in Colorado, will focus on garnering resources to help pass the ASSET bill.
Hearing on Alabama’s and Georgia’s Immigration Laws
- On March 1, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in cases challenging Alabama’s and Georgia’s omnibus anti-immigrant laws. The cases were brought by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including the National Immigration Law Center, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, which challenged Alabama’s law. The judges initially announced their intention to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Arizona’s SB 1070, before issuing a decision. The sections of the law at issue in Georgia already had been blocked pending appeal. Some sections of the Alabama law -- including the ban on enrollment in higher education, and the requirement that schools verify the status of children enrolling in K-12 – also had been blocked. In closing, Cecillia Wang, Executive Director of the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, urged the court to halt other provisions as well. On March 8th, the 11th Circuit panel issued an order blocking two more sections of Alabama’s law – one that voids contracts entered into with undocumented immigrants, and one that criminalizes undocumented immigrants who enter into “business transactions” with the state. These provisions will be blocked or “enjoined” pending the resolution of the appeal. This victory was celebrated enthusiastically by the hundreds of individuals who marched from Selma to Montgomery last week. A decision in the Arizona case is expected this summer.
Financial Aid and Scholarships for DREAMers
- New York’s “DREAM” Act would provide access to the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their status. A new report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, The New York Dream Act: A Preliminary Estimate of Costs and Benefits, examines the cost of this measure, as well as the economic benefits of investing in higher education, including the higher earnings of students who earn college degrees, increased tax revenue for state and local governments, and incentives for businesses to locate in areas where workers are highly educated. The report estimates that opening the Tuition Assistance Program to students who meet the program’s criteria, regardless of status, would increase expenditures by about 2 percent.
- New York City officials and groups, including the New York Immigration Coalition, announced a new privately funded scholarship program for DREAMers.
- High tech leaders in California’s Silicon Valley have invested in scholarships and other assistance for DREAMers, by providing support to Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), which offers links to scholarships, legal services and career advice for students regardless of status.
Thanks again for all of your amazing work, and for keeping us posted.
National Immigration Law Center==============================================================================
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