The Virginia State Senate Tuesday voted against a bill that would’ve taken away the right for DREAMers to pay in-state tuition.
“Someone who has the guts to go and fight for what they believe is right– that’s what I believe a DREAMer is,” said Yanet Limon-Amado, a DREAMer.
Making a statement in their high school cap and gowns, dozens of DREAMers showed up at the General Assembly to fight two bills aimed at taking away in-state tuition eligibility.
“I know so many dreamers who are in high school and basically all they want to do is go to college,” said DREAMer Jose Caceres.
Limon-Amado has been living in Henrico County for 11 years. She says her goal is to study political science at VCU, but she can only make that happen if she is allowed to pay in-state tuition.
“Some of us are going to become lawyers, doctors, politicians in the future. We don’t want to take anything away, we just want to give it back to the state that has given us so much,” she said.
Senate Bill 722 was defeated Tuesday in a 20 to 19 vote. But its sister bill in the house, HB 1356, is headed to subcommittee.
“We’re really elated that this legislation failed in the senate today, and we’re looking forward to making sure the same thing happens in the house,” said Demas Boudreaux with the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations.
“We won this battle, but we know that the fight is not over,” said Caceres.
DREAMers are those granted temporary relief from deportation, and last year, Attorney General Mark Herring ruled that they also qualify for in-state tuition rates. The house bill would overturn that.
“Virginia should be moving forward-making higher education more accessible instead of putting obstacles,” said Caceres.
“The fight still continues, but I’m going to be able to move forward and go to Virginia Commonwealth University, my dream school.”