Sunday, December 14, 2014

Texas DREAM Act Faces Revamp or Repeal

We fight this every session.  This is House Bill 1403 that you can learn more about by searching this blog (HB1403) passed in the 2001 session of the Texas State Legislature.  Our was the first state to pass this kind of legislation that has since culminated in the federal DREAM Act proposal.  This will obviously be a big fight this upcoming session. Governor Rick Perry was right on this one:
During the 2012 Presidential Campaign, Governor Perry received a very strong negative reaction to his statement to the audience of a presidential debate when he said if you do not support educating the children of illegal immigrants “I don’t think you have a heart.”
In 2001, this bill made sense as a workforce development bill.  That's why the republicans voted for it: It was good for the Texas economy.  It's no secret that this legislation—and legislation like it throughout the nation—has motivated higher educational attainment by the 60,000+ undocumented high school students that graduate annually in our nation.  This legislative proposal that became an agenda for our community across the nation, has further ignited a movement that is powerful and far reaching.  Indeed, for the Latino community, it is the civil and human rights struggle of our times.  Not that there was not a movement before.  There was  and many of us in the Civil Rights community (LULAC and MALDEF) were a part of it.  

Under state law prior to 2001, these youth were treated like "non-residents" when they had actually lived the bulk of their young lives in the U.S.  We saw children with enormous talent in their schools hitting a wall when they saw that graduation, much less higher education, didn't matter much for them despite their wishes to better themselves and their families and communities.  It was a very sad thing to see.  A number of them didn't even know they were "undocumented" until they looked into college.  These youth had been doing everything that they thought they were supposed to be doing as "good citizens" and the light in their eyes dimmed when they first came to a full awareness that higher education—however competent and technically qualified they were—was simply unattainable when they were forced to pay prohibitive out-of-state tuition costs like others coming from other states or countries.  

Fortunately, many republicans do see the importance of this legislation, but will there be enough...?  We'll see.  Clearly, many Texas republicans fear the building political strength of the Latino community and seek to stem it this next session by the revamping or repealing of HB 1403.  Since education and the vote are empirically linked, this is yet another way (besides Voter ID, redistricting and the like) to work toward the disenfranchisement of our community.  

Organize (more), we must.


The law known as the Texas DREAM Act will face a “big revamp or repeal” according to one incoming State Senator. The measure passed into law during the 2001 legislative session and provides for in-state tuition for certain children of illegal immigrants. The law was a hot button issue during the primary and general election as well as the 2012 Presidential Campaign of Governor Rick Perry.
State Senator-Elect Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) wasted no time in addressing the issue that also dogged her in her recent campaign that ended last Saturday night with her election to the Senate. She voted for the 2001 in-state tuition bill as freshman state representative. She spoke out against in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants during the campaign and is now ready to move forward on her campaign promise.
“We are definitely looking to modify that bill, and Governor Abbott has told me he would sign it – whether that be a complete repeal or a toughening of the standards,” said Kolkhorst in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
Kolkhorst told the Chronicle she has spoken with Lt. Governor-Elect Dan Patrick and Governor-Elect Greg Abbott about the possible legislative actions on the issue. Both Abbott and Patrick have expressed their commitment to either reform or repeal the law. Abbott said, during a gubernatorial debate with State Sen. Wendy Davis, he would not veto a bill that would repeal the Texas DREAM Act, but his campaign staff said they would prefer to reform the measure. Patrick pledged to repeal the bill throughout his campaign.
The incoming Senator said she expects this will be one of several pieces of legislation relating to illegal immigration to come before the new legislative session which launches in January.  “Whatever role the lieutenant governor wants me to play on the issue, I will play,” Kolkhorst said.
Kolkhorst was elected to Senate District 18 last Saturday in a special election to fill the vacancy created by the election of Senator Glenn Hegar to the position of Comptroller of Public Accounts. SD-18 runs from Giddings down to Port Aransas and includes Brenham, Katy and Victoria. She is expected to be sworn in to the Senate later this month.
During the 2012 Presidential Campaign, Governor Perry received a very strong negative reaction to his statement to the audience of a presidential debate when he said if you do not support educating the children of illegal immigrants “I don’t think you have a heart.”
The Texas DREAM Act was a landmine issue for several candidates during the 2014 Republican Primary season where many challengers attacked incumbents who voted in 2001 to approve the in-state tuition issue.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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