We bring you exciting news from the state of Virginia! Announced on Tuesday, Virginia resident students who have temporary legal status under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can also receive in-state tuition from public colleges and universities. The announcement comes after republicans in the state’s General Assembly blocked DREAM Act legislation earlier this year.
About 8,100 young people in Virginia have temporary legal status under DACA, which allows high school graduates who came to the United States as children to work legally if they have no criminal record and are enrolled in school or discharged from the military. The impact of in-state tuition is huge in the life of an individual. For example, while in-state tuition for University of Virginia in the coming year totals $12,998, prior to this announcement, DACA recipients who are Virginia residents would have had to pay an out-of-state tuition of $42,184. Many young people who receive scholarships cannot claim them due to immigration status. These students could be valuable assets to local economies and communities, but out-of-state tuition fees make it difficult for hard-working, bright DACA students to consider college a possibility.
Since the failure of the federal DREAM Act in 2010, 19 states have passed legislation giving some form of in-state tuition to undocumented young people. We are excited that Virginia will be joining these other states in allowing DREAMers equal access to financial resources for higher education. Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education and reach for his or her dreams.
Today, as National Day of Prayer, we pray for justice for immigrants in the United States who seek to follow their dreams. We also pray for our Members of Congress, and particularly leaders in the House of Representatives, to have the courage to do what is right and bring the immigration reform bill up for a vote.
Please pick up the phone today and call the White House and the House of Representatives to ask them to take action.
- Call your Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or find your Representative’s direct line at www.house.gov. Here’s a sample script:
I’m from City, State, Congregation/Community and as a person of faith, I am outraged that the House has failed to pass immigration reform. The need for just and compassionate reform is urgent, as our broken immigration system tears families and communities apart. I urge the Representative to insist that House leadership work to enact immigration reform that reunites families, protects vulnerable migrants, and leads to citizenship for our undocumented community members.
- Call the White House at 1-888-907-2053. Here’s a sample script:
I’m from City, State, Congregation/Community and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to ease the pain caused by inhumane detention and deportation practices. The President has the authority to alleviate the suffering of our undocumented community members. As our broken immigration system tears families and communities apart, the President cannot neglect his authority to end unnecessarily high rates of detention and deportation. Today I am praying for the President to take compassionate leadership on this issue.
For other ideas on immigration reform related actions for National Day of Prayer, check out our prayer vigil resource. Follow up on your calls with an in-person visit using our