Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced yesterday that DREAMers, children of undocumented immigrants who lawfully live in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, will qualify for in-state college tuition at Virginia’s public universities.

“These hard working Virginia students who have grown up and are an important part of our state’s economic future will finally be able to study at Virginia’s public universities without the barrier of out-of-state tuition,” said Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Chair of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, in a statement.

Legislation that would have made these students eligible for in-state tuition has failed several times in the Virginia General Assembly. Herring and his team reviewed the laws after requests from lawmakers, DACA students and their peers, and forged ahead on their own.

“It simply makes no sense to tell these Virginia students that the commonwealth doesn’t care about their ability to reach their potential,” Herring told reporters. “Instead of punishing them for the way their parents brought them to Virginia as children, we should extend an affordable education to these students. It’s what the law requires, it makes economic sense, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Many of Virginia’s public institutions have already made it clear they will welcome the students. While it is unclear so far exactly how many students will be positively affected, about 8,100 young people in Virginia have had their applications for DACA approved since December 2013.

Media Resources: Richmond Times-Dispatch 4/29/14;  The Roanoke Times 4/29/14; Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations 4/29/14; Feminist Newswire 12/19/13

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