In-State Tuition for Dreamers Advances in the GOP Controlled Arizona House of Representatives

PHOENIX, ARIZONA — The GOP controlled House of Representatives in Arizona voted 32 to 28 to advance SCR1044, a proposed ballot initiative that would provide standard in-state college tuition to all students who attend and graduate from an Arizona high school, including approximately 2,000 Dreamers per year. The initiative will now head to a second reading in the Arizona State House. If it passes both second and third readings, it will be added to the 2022 ballot where voters will decide if it should become law.

The vote follows the publication of a letter signed by more than 130 business, faith and civic leaders urging the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Russell “Rusty” Bowers, to bring SCR 1044 to the floor. You can read the letter here. Last weekend, the Arizona Republic published an editorial calling on Bowers to let voters decide whether Dreamers should pay in-state tuition. “What’s the harm in that?” the editorial asked.

This legislation was introduced on February 1, 2021 by Republican State Sen. Paul Boyer (R. LD20) and is co-sponsored by Representative Michelle Udall (R. LD25). This legislation enables these students to pay their own way through college at the in-state tuition rate, preparing themselves to be self-sufficient, productive, contributors to our economy. For every college graduate earning a four-year university degree, the state averages a $660,000 return on its investment (College Success Arizona). 

Bob Worsley, co-chair of the Intermountain chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said: “Thank you to GOP Representatives Michelle Udall and Joel John, David Cook and every Democrat for supporting common sense solutions for our Arizona Dreamers. As an entrepreneur and former state senator, I understand the immense impact this type of economically smart policy can have on communities and businesses across the state.” 

Dallin Adams, ABIC’s Intermountain Coalition Director, said: “Representatives Michelle Udall, Joel John, and the AZ House Democratic caucus showed leadership and courage today in standing up for Dreamers in Arizona. These students are essential to Arizona’s future, and should not be deprived of educational opportunities because of partisan divides.”

Thanks to Aliento, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arizona State University, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education & Immigration, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their partnership and leadership.

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The Intermountain American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) represents a growing group of business, faith, and immigrant advocates from Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Home to over 2 million immigrants, our Intermountain region benefits by almost $100 billion annually from the economic contributions and talents of these individuals, and we believe that with the right legislative solutions, they will continue to play a key role in our economy and our region’s future. 

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