February 19, 2014
Well, so long as Congress is out to recess (literally-they’re on break until February 24th), states continue to move forward on integrating immigrants into their communities. Last night Washington State took a big step towards becoming the fourth state to make DREAMers eligible for state financial aid when applying to college. Washington Governor Jay Inslee indicated he would sign the bill and stated, “This bill ensures that the young men and women we’ve invested in at our high schools and who aspire to become productive American citizens will now have fair access to the financial support they need to turn their dreams into reality.”

In California, State Senator Ricardo Lara wants to make sure that all California families have access to health care, whether they have papers or not. In legislation he introduced, the Health for All Act, “undocumented immigrants could qualify for Medicaid coverage paid fully by the state. Those earning too much to qualify for Medicaid would be able to access an insurance exchange offering state-funded subsidies.”

Maryland is preparing to start debate on a bill that would mirror California’s TRUST Act, empowering local law enforcement to disregard ICE detainer requests. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently “wrote the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday to ask why those deportations are taking place under a program [Secure Communities] designed to catch dangerous criminals.”

And in Tennessee, where just one year ago they were debating passing Arizona copy-cat legislation, two bills have been introduced in the state legislature that would expand access to in-state tuition for DREAMers. One of the bills was introduced by two Republicans, one of whom State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, explained his support this way: “These are the serious kids that we ought to reward and allow them to get in-state tuition.”

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