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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

State Bill Would Help Undocumented Immigrant Students

A bill that will expand the eligibility for state need grants to undocumented students will be discussed in a public hearing before the House Committee on Higher Education today. Introduced in January, HB 1706 would expand the definition of students who are residents thereby expanding the state need grant program to help additional college students.

Last Friday, over 700 Latinos from around Washington State converged on the Capitol in Olympia to call for financial aid for undocumented students. One of the organizers of the capitol event, Ricardo Sanchez of Latino/a Education Achievement Project (LEAP), said in an interview with the Bellingham Herald:

“Most of the kids who are headed to college, they came here with their families when they were 2 or 3 years of age. Their parents came here to work. They’ve grown up in our system,” he said. “Now that they’ve proven themselves academically, what sense does it make to waste all of that?”
According to the AP, one of the bill’s cosponsors, State Representative Dave Quall echoed concerns saying that because many of these students are brought to the United States by their parents at a young age and are raised in the American education system, it wouldn't be right to deny aid to them.

The public hearing before the House Committee on Higher Education will take place 1:30 PM. The State Senate had a first reading yesterday on the their companion bill SB 5959.



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