For months, we’ve been fighting to defend DACA and to fight for Dream Act to pass in Congress. Our members have been joined in this campaign by Tennesseans from all walks of life who believe that undocumented youth who’ve grown up in Tennessee belong in our communities and are #HereToStay. That’s why today we filed a bill in the state legislature to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students. Immigrant youth who’ve grown up in Tennessee and graduated from our schools deserve a fair shot to enroll in college, follow their dreams, and contribute to their communities.
Today, the final gavel will fall in the 109th General Assembly. In a few short weeks undocumented students in the Class of 2016 will walk across the graduation stage. They've been holding their breath, fingers-crossed, that tuition equality would pass the House of Representatives; that this year they would finally have a fair shot at going to college. And yet, the legislature will adjourn today, without bringing the tuition equality bill up for a vote.
Will immigrant students in the class of 2016 be able to go to college this fall?
This morning, dozens of students donned in caps and gowns sent a strong message to members of the House and Governor Haslam to support HB765 before the session adjoins. After asking members of the House whether or not they would take another step towards the Drive to 55, students visited the Governor's office and asked him to be a champion for the bill, which so clearly aligns with his legislative priorities.
What will 2016 bring? Will refugee families -- whether from Syria or Honduras -- find safe refuge and welcome in Tennessee? Could undocumented students in the Class of 2016 be the first to graduate with access to in-state tuition? Will the Supreme Court finally deliver justice to the 50,000 Tennesseans who have been waiting for relief?