State House Again Passes College Aid For Immigrant Students

Jan 13, 2014

It wasn’t all pomp and circumstance. The opening day of the Washington Legislature included something rare for the first day of session: a floor vote.

The Washington House voted Monday to give college grant money to low-income high school graduates who are in the country illegally. 

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle , spoke in support of the so-called Dream Act.

“This is a bill about our future. It is a bill that we cannot afford to delay enactment on,” she said.

But Larry Haler, R-Richland, said it doesn’t make financial sense to expand eligibility for Washington’s Need Grant program. He pointed out that in 2011, more than 30,000 qualified students received no help from this program due to a shortage of funds.

“I will be asking for a ‘no vote' on this because the statistics, unfortunately, trump the dream at this time,” he said.

The Democratically-controlled Washington House passed the Dream Act last year, but it died in the mostly-Republican Senate. It’s unclear whether the measure has a better chance this year.