Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, has introduced the Washington State DREAM Act, which would help Washington's promising, aspiring citizens attend college and continue to contribute to their communities.
"These students grew up in Washington towns, succeeded in Washington schools, paid Washington taxes and want to be part of Washington's future. We can give them the same chance that their high school classmates have by opening the door to our state financial aid programs," said Murray.
He noted that Washington’s Latino population has grown by more than 350 percent since 1990, while our productivity in many of the crops that require manual labor for harvesting has also shot up. Today, the crops in which Washington is No. 1 nationally are worth $2.7 billion a year.
Latino immigrants have brought us economic success, and their children deserve the same shot as kids born in Washington, Murray said.
“They are the kids on your daughter’s basketball team. They are the students who shared a science project with your son. They stood next to your granddaughter when they both received their high school diplomas,” Murray said. “They can be our next generation of job creators. But they need our help.”
Today, Washington’s young aspiring citizens qualify for in-state tuition but are denied access to state financial aid, like the State Need Grant. Under Murray’s proposal, those aspiring citizens would qualify for the aid.
Murray also pointed out the DREAM Act can be a point of bipartisan cooperation, noting that prominent state Republicans have called for the party to be more open to immigrants.