General Assembly Ends, Children of Undocumented Parents Still Have In-State Tuition

Mar 2, 2015

The 2015 legislative session in Virginia may be remembered for expanding access to medical marijuana and excusing Dominion Power from government oversight of its rates, but it could also be known for what didn’t happen. 

When President Obama announced that children raised in this country by undocumented parents could remain here legally, states had to decide whether to grant them in-state tuition.  Two lawmakers introduced bills to deny it, but Delegate Alfonso Lopez says neither was approved. 

Flickr user Shal Farley
Credit Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“Senator Dick Black’s legislation was defeated by two votes in the Senate, and Delegate Ramadan - his legislation in the House was never even brought up in committee.”

That came as a surprise to some, given anti-immigrant sentiment - especially in the Republican Party and GOP domination of both House and Senate, but Lopez says politicians from both sides of the aisle can count.

“In 1970, Latinos made up 0.9% of the population, and today they make up 8.6% of the population.”

There are about 9,700 high school graduates in Virginia who were brought to this country by parents who did not have legal documents.  The state’s attorney general has said they’re eligible for in-state tuition.