State DREAM Act Passes in Florida, Fails in New York

tuition bill for undocumented

State legislators in Florida and New York both voted on bills to support DREAMers this month.

In Florida, a bill giving DREAMers access to in-state tuition passed through the state’s legislature. In New York, however, legislators shot down a bill proposing DREAMers be given access to financial aid for the state’s public and private higher-education institutions.

In Florida, the in-state tuition legislation—Senate Bill 1400—passed through the Florida House. The bill would let undocumented students pay in-state tuition rates in cases where they’ve attended a public high school for three straight years before graduating. Legislation also includes limiting institutional tuition increases.

Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who sponsored the bill, said the proposal recognizes that undocumented immigrants already support state institutions through the taxes they pay.

“These parents pay the same sales taxes, the same gas taxes, and many of the other taxes that we pay who have students that qualify for in-state tuition,” he said as reported by the Miami Herald.

In New York, legislators voted down the state’s DREAM Act, legislation that would have let DREAMers apply for financial aid for attendance at one of the state’s public or private colleges.  The bill failed on a 30-29 mostly partisan vote. Thirty-two votes were needed to pass the bill into law.

“It continues to be a nightmare for the DREAMers,” Sen. Jose Peralta, one democratic backer of the bill, said as reported by New York Daily News.

The bill also had the backing of New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. While the governor expressed disappointment at the bill’s defeat, he also promised the effort to grant DREAMers with educational opportunities is not over.

“I will continue to work with supporters, stakeholders and members of the legislature to achieve this dream and build the support to pass this legislation and preserve New York’s legacy as a progressive leader,” he said in a statement released Mar. 17.