“As mayor of the most conservative city in America, I think it’s fundamentally inhumane to deny tuition fairness to these great young Americans who’ve been raised in our communities no different than anyone else.” – Republican Mayor of Mesa John Giles
PHOENIX– Today, a bipartisan coalition of more than 130 Arizona business, faith, law enforcement, education leaders, elected officials, and advocates announced the launch of the Yes on 308 campaign. The campaign will urge Arizona voters to vote yes on AZ ballot initiative 308, which would ensure that any person who has lived in Arizona for two or more years and graduated from an Arizona high school will pay the same tuition rates as their peers to attend Arizona state colleges and universities. There are 23,000 DACA residents in Arizona,, 95 percent of whom are employed. They pay $180 million in taxes, $87 million of which are state and local. They have a spending power of $618 million. Prop. 308 is economically important, morally right and politically smart.
ABIC Action Executive Director Rebecca Shi kicked off the launch by calling attention to the important role Dreamers play in Arizona businesses and by calling attention to the vast support for Prop. 308 among conservative Arizonans.
“With labor shortages and out-of-control prices hammering every family, Arizona needs workers with an education,” said Shi. “Prop. 308 is reasonable and fair. Very few people in this country believe that children who were brought here by their parents and who’ve studied hard should be deported. But denying them an education only hurts Arizona.”
Then, former Arizona State Senator and ABIC Co-Chair Bob Worsely noted that Arizonans’ commitment to fairness explains why Prop. 308 is on this November’s ballot, “Fair-minded Arizonans are called upon to speak up,” said Worsley. “Dreamers deserve a fair shot to attend college affordably. Fairness is what this is all about.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone issued the following statement in support of the Yes on 308 Campaign:
“As a supporter of DACA, I also support allowing DACA recipients to receive in-state tuition. These youth are already part of the American fabric, contributing to the greatness of our nation, and should have the same benefits as the friends, neighbors, and classmates they’ve grown up alongside. Ensuring DACA recipients have fair opportunities to pursue an education has great value not only for them, but for our entire community.”
Dreamer and college student Yesenia Ramales shared her personal story: “I was born in Mexico but brought here when I was two. I’ve lived in Phoenix almost all my life. I wanted to go to an Arizona public college but it was too expensive for me because of the current law. Thankfully I was able to study at Grand Canyon University and now I’m a legal assistant. I wanted to earn my masters after getting my bachelors, and now I think I might want to go to law school. But either choice is currently unreachable because the price of doing it at a state school is too expensive for me. If I had the opportunity to pay in-state tuition, I would use it to help more people and give back more to my community. I’ll be working hard to let people know about Prop. 308.”
Arizona State Representative (R-25) and Prop. 308 co-sponsor Michelle Udall also had strong words: “Prop. 308 is one of the most important choices on the ballot this November,” she said. “As a Republican legislator and as an educator, a high school math teacher, I know the future of our state depends on our youth. Arizona will prosper or fail depending on the grit, determination and education of our youth. Our incredible growth will not continue without any educated workforce. Now it’s up to voters to help secure the future of our state by passing Prop. 308 this November.
During the question and answer session, Udall also said: “If we don’t give an opportunity for these students to be educated, they’ll be in poverty for decades along with their children. They’ll need public assistance for generations. We can break that chain in one generation by making it possible for them to go to college. There’s no reason to punish them for the rest of their lives because they were brought here as children. These young people want to be doctors, nurses and teachers—to fill some of our most vital workforce shortages. But they are running into barriers.”
“As a church leader and a grandfather,” said Former Mesa School Board President Wilford W. Andersen, “I’ve spent many years of my life encouraging young people to gain an education and succeed in life.” He then said of Dreamers: “These young people not only deserve but need our support. A higher education will not only improve their lives but that of their future children and grandchildren throughout Arizona. Prop. 308 is right for business and it’s also the moral and right thing to do, and I will do everything I can to encourage its passage.”
Mesa Mayor John Giles: “As mayor of the most conservative city in America, I think it’s fundamentally inhumane to deny tuition fairness to these great young Americans who’ve been raised in our communities no different than anyone else. But there are economic arguments for Prop. 308 as well. We’re in a tremendous workforce crisis. I dare you to go to any establishment in the state and not see a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. We’ve been so successful with our economy that we now have more jobs than people to fill those jobs. I talk every week with major employers looking to bring high-paying jobs here, and the first question they ask about is the workforce. In the past, that’s been our greatest strength. It’s very counterintuitive to be trying to strengthen our workforce while putting up barriers [to higher education] for these great young Americans who are very anxious to participate in the American dream.”
Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund President & CEO David Adame: “I have a stepson who is a DACA-approved student and I saw firsthand his disappointment and frustration when it was time for him to go to college and he had this extra cost laid on him. It’s crushing to know you can’t pay [what other Arizona young people are paying for public higher education] and hence not achieve your dreams.” Plus, he said, it was economically unwise. “I sit on many economic development boards from Phoenix to Tucson to Flagstaff, and as we’re trying to recruit companies to come into the state, they’re asking us, ‘What is the prepared workforce?’ That’s why this is crucial. We’ve already made 12 years of [K-12] investment in these young people—let’s make more so we can compete. These young people have already contributed over $25 million to Medicare and the Social Security system. They’ve earned this.”
Sunbelt Holdings CEO John Graham: “We have more than 23,000 DACA residents here, 95 percent of whom are employed. They pay $180 million in taxes, $87 million of which are state and local. They have a spending power of $618 million. That’s why Prop. 308 is one of the most important referenda on the ballot this November. It will not only reinvigorate our economy, it will help fortify our state’s future economic growth by encouraging all our talented students to build their careers here. As the U.S. continues to face labor shortages, these hands, brains and hearts are needed more than ever. That’s why it’s so important that everyone who cares about Arizona’s economic future vote “Yes” on Prop. 308 in November.”
LUCHA Co-Executive Director Tomas Robles: “Over 10 years ago, Prop. 300 robbed Arizona Dreamers of the opportunity to pursue higher education and hence their dreams. Now, when we talk about Prop. 308, I think about Hazel, a LUCHA volunteer who is in her senior year of high school and has top grades in honors classes. But unless 308 passes, the opportunity for her to go school will be difficult, because out-of-state tuition rates can be more than $40,000 for one year alone. That’s why so many of us have come together to make we sure we right that wrong. Our students deserve and need this, and it will make Arizona a much better place to live, work and educate our children in.”
Dreamer Tony Valdovinos, who is the inspiration for the musical ¡Americano!, which has gone all the way to off-Broadway in NYC: “Growing up, my #1 dream was to join the Marines after witnessing the attack on the U.S. on 9/11. At 17, I realized that dream was denied me because I was undocumented. Once I decided to go to college, Prop. 300 destroyed that opportunity, too. Prop. 308 will allow Dreamers and DACA recipients like myself to continue our education—and continue contributing to Arizona.”
About Prop 308
Prop 308 would enable any person who has lived in Arizona for two or more years and graduated from an Arizona high school to attend Arizona colleges on the same basis as their peers. Dreamers are our Arizona kids and deserve the same opportunities as other kids.
This proposition brings fairness to the tuition system for all Arizonan students who meet the requirements without any impact on the state’s general fund supported by taxpayers. Our colleges have room for these students and want them. Arizona is working to ensure that 60% of our working age population has post-secondary education by 2030. This proposition helps us reach that goal.
College graduates are more productive and add more growth to the state’s economy. It is estimated that the average graduate with a Bachelor’s degree pays $381,000 more in taxes over his/her lifetime than a high school graduate. The business community supports this initiative because it will stimulate economic growth and strengthen the fiscal health of the state budget.
The conservative state budget review committee noted that this proposal would have ZERO impact on the state budget; that means it will cost taxpayers nothing extra to do this and the state’s economy will benefit. As mentioned above, by creating more college graduates, the state will receive more in taxes from these students over their lifetime (Total estimates = $381,000).
About 2,000 high school graduates a year will qualify for in-state tuition as Dreamers. The children of “Dreamers” are U.S. citizens. They deserve the opportunity to be born into traditions and legacies of education, work, and achievement.
Yes On 308 is a bipartisan campaign led by education, business, faith, and civic leaders seeking to provide all Arizona high school graduates, regardless of their immigration status, the opportunity to pay their own way through college at the in-state tuition rate. Ending the unfair treatment of Arizona’s undocumented high school graduates by allowing equal access to in-state tuition rates at the state colleges and universities will allow them to reach their educational goals, become self-sufficient, and give back to our community.
ABIC Action is the political arm of the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), a bipartisan coalition of over 1,200+ CEOs, business owners, and trade associations across 17 mostly red and purple states. ABIC Action promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.
Arizona Faith Network is an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing people together to promote peace and understanding through interfaith education and dialogue as well as healing of the world through collaborative social action.
Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund is an advocacy nonprofit supporting CPLC mission initiatives including Yes on Prop 308, increased Latino voter participation and improved education, affordable housing, health and human services, and economic empowerment.
Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community that identifies and eliminates barriers to the well-being of children and families and creates opportunities through partnerships and policy solutions.
Greater Phoenix Leadership is an organization of leading CEOs aligning leadership and resources at the intersection of the business, education, philanthropy and public policy sectors to improve economic vitality and quality of life.
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) is an organization led by changemakers fighting for social, racial, and economic transformation. We are committed to human dignity, inclusion, equity, and collective growth. We work to reclaim our shared power alongside our families and community.
Stand for Children Arizona Stand is a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice, to create a brighter future for us all.We believe that all children should receive a high-quality, equitable education – especially those who are furthest from opportunity and justice.
Sunbelt Holdings has been a recognized leader in real estate development, management and investment throughout the Southwest since 1979. Over the years, we have gained an understanding of the area’s unique characteristics that only time and experience can teach.
The Jewish Community Relations Council fosters education, dialogue, and advocacy within and outside the Jewish community, providing a collective voice in advancing the causes of Justice, Compassion and Equity.