|After 10 Years, Undocumented Students Will Soon Be Eligible For In-State Tuition|
| Ten years ago former State Representative Val Vigil unsuccessfully ran a bill, House Bill 03-1178, that would have allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students. He also ran his bill in 2004 (HB 04-1132) and 2005 (HB 05-1124) all unsuccessfully. Then in 2006 Colorado became one of only five states that still today make in-state tuition for undocumented students illegal (HB 06S – 1023)
Since the prohibition in 2006 in-state tuition bills were tried in 2008 (SB-79), in 2009 (SB-170), in 2010 (SB – 126) in 2012 (SB-015) and now in 2013 (SB-33).
This morning Colorado got one step closer to ensuring that all qualified graduates of Colorado High Schools can have access to in-state tuition rates at our colleges and universities. The State House debated Colorado ASSET (SB-33) for several hours today with numerous Democrats and a few Republicans stepping to the well saying they were in support of the bill. They spoke in front of many students who sat in the House gallery eagerly awaiting to see what the future holds for them.
After Colorado ASSET passed 2nd reading in the
House the students who have worked on passing Colorado ASSET for years cheered the Representatives, many with tears in their eyes.
“This is a long time coming. So many came before me and fought to help make sure that I can afford to go to college next year. I thank everyone who helped over these past 10 years for their support. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better graduation present than ASSET passing,” exclaimed Westminster High School Senior Cesiah Guadarrama a leader with Together Colorado.
Alexa Bailon a Junior at Bishop Machebeuf and leader with Padres y Jovenes Unidos added, “Colorado, the state where it snows one day and is sunny the next. I am a proud to have been raised in Colorado and now I get to stay here to continue my education. I can’t wait to make a huge impact on my community – nothing will come between me and medical school now!”
Both Alexa and Cesiah applied for and were accepted into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was created last year by the Secretary for Homeland Security. This means both girls are eligible to work and are protected from removal action because they arrived in the United States before they turned 16, are currently in school and do not have a criminal record.
“In the past we had to say trust us, these students will be able to work after they graduate from college. Congress will figure out immigration reform. This year we were able to show that these students are able to work and their bright minds should not go to waste. Carrying this bill for the last four years has enabled me to meet some pretty outstanding young leaders in our State who just happen to be missing a nine digit number,” stated Representative Angela Williams (D-Denver).
“In part I ran for office to help undo the wrong that has been put in the way of these bright future leaders of our state to continue their education. I feel humbled to be a part of this bill and the history we are making,” continued Representative Crisanta Duran (D-Denver).
It is expected that Colorado ASSET will be heard on 3rd reading this upcoming Friday the 8th and that several Republicans will join all of the House Democrats in supporting Senate Bill 13-033. Lastly, Colorado ASSET will go to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Lt Governor Joe Garcia has testified twice in support of Colorado ASSET on behalf of himself and the Governor so it is expected that the Governor will sign the bill.