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In-state tuition being sought for undocumented immigrants in Virginia

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For the third time since 2012, Del. Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington said on Tuesday he would submit his Virginia Tuition Equality Act. This legislation would allow children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates.

Immigration reform is languishing in Congress, but children of undocumented immigrants living in Virginia and wanting to go on to college in the state of Virginia have to pay out-of-state tuition rates to attend college.

Both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature are pushing to get legislation through the General Assembly this year that would change the law, allowing these students to pay the same tuition rate as other students living in Virginia.

Lopez is joined by Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, who plans to present a similar measure on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Del. Thomas Davis Rust, R-Fairfax, said he would submit a bill identical to his 2013 in-state tuition bill, that ended up stalling short of being debated on the House floor.

Del Lopez said in an interview on Monday that, “This legislation is incredibly important, not just from a moral perspective, but also from an economic development perspective. I am cautiously optimistic that the bill will move forward this year.

Del. Rust said that prior to last year, he did not support the in-state tuition legislation, but changed his mind after President Barack Obama announced he would not enforce the deportation of undocumented student immigrants.

With the House of Delegates being controlled by the GOP, it is likely the Democrat's proposals will be rolled into Rust' bill. Rust said he would be willing to go along with the Democrats, but the bill would be his own, this year.

More than 12 states now allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, and two, California and Rhode Island, even allow those students to apply for state higher education tuition aid.

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