(Arlington, VA) – Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Hutchinson signed bills to grant in-state tuition to Dreamers, and to allow them to obtain nursing licenses. (Dreamers are immigrants brought here as children without legal status.) House bill 1684 was recently approved by the legislature with strong bipartisan support – 75-11 in the House, and 18-7 in the State Senate. The legislation would provide in-state tuition to all who have resided in the state for at least 3 years and graduated from a high school in the state. It would benefit not only Dreamers, but also the children of highly-skilled immigrants caught in the green card backlog. House bill 1552 was approved by the Senate by 23-4, and by the House by a vote of 90-0.
Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“Arkansas officials have joined nearly 20 other states that offer in-state tuition to Dreamers – young people brought to our country as children, without legal status. They have also moved to permit the State Board of Nursing to grant licenses to qualifying Dreamers. In doing so, they recognize that Dreamers know no other home but America. They and the other immigrants covered by these measures have the potential to contribute greatly to our communities and our nation – if we lift the barriers that prevent them from doing so. But the ultimate barrier is the uncertainty around their status.
“The American people strongly support federal legislation that will provide certainty to the Dreamers – which we have long advocated. They support efforts to ensure the Dreamers are able to work and prosper. It’s long past time for policymakers at the federal level to act and lead – as lawmakers in Arkansas have just done. We stand ready to work with anyone to make this happen.”