This year Del. Alfonso Lopez and Sen. Adam Ebbin patroned similar bills designed to extend in-state college tuition to Virginia youth that qualify for residency under the new federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Currently, these students must pay out-of-state tuition for Virginia colleges even if they have lived, and their parents have paid taxes, in the commonwealth for decades. Without in-state tuition to help them afford higher education, many — if not most — of these young people will unable to advance their education and will be relegated to a second-class existence. By letting them pay in-state tuition, Virginia would invest in its future workforce and enhance the ability of these young people to contribute to the social and economic livelihood of their Virginia communities after college.
Though neither bill passed this year, the commitment to justice and equality for immigrant youth shown by Lopez and Ebbin is commendable. Locally there are a great many young people who would benefit from the policy, and I invite you to join me in thanking both legislators for championing this issue.