Rep. Anchia calls on colleagues to protect DREAM Act
Standing in the rain on the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, announced he will file a resolution to preemptively protect the Texas DREAM Act from alteration or repeal.
Surrounded by members of Keep HB1403 – a coalition of business, students, supporters and organizations dedicated to protecting the DREAM Act – Anchia publicly asked members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Democratic and Republican caucuses to help protect the act, which allows in-state tuition for non-legal residents who meet certain requirements.
“I’m going to get my colleagues to sign on so we can stop any talk of repeal and, instead, affirm this good, sound public policy that we have in this state that honors the young people and their efforts in this community.”
Anchia not-so-subtly addressed two of his fellow state representatives who already have filed bills calling for the elimination of key features of the act, including certain opportunities the act provides for individuals to qualify for in-state tuition.
“I will further say, ladies and gentleman, that for people who want to repeal in-state tuition — they are attacking some of the most vulnerable people in our community today,” Anchia said. “If they’re going to be bullies to young people, who many times cannot defend themselves, what does that say about what they’re willing to do to the rest of us?”
HB 360, by Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, would require individuals to show proof of citizenship or lawful residency to apply for in-state tuition, in addition to meeting requirements outlined in the DREAM Act.
“The magnet that drives illegal immigration is partly caused by providing benefits like in-state tuition to those who have violated federal and state laws,” Keough said in a statement. “HB 360 will take steps to reduce the magnetic draw or allure that exists within Texas due to programs that provide benefits to those who are here illegally.
HB 209, filed by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, eliminates certain provisions in the act under which individuals could qualify for in-state tuition, including the provision for people who graduated from high school in Texas.
Bill Hammond, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, spoke in support of the DREAM Act at the press conference. He said the government has a “moral imperative” to educate children in Texas.
“If we make a serious mistake, if Texas goes the wrong way on this issue, these Dreamers will be virtually denied an education,” Hammond said. “What we want for every Texan is for them to grow up, get an education, get a job and be a productive member of society…We have enormous skill gaps across Texas today and these fine, young people will help fill those gaps.”
The Texas Association of Business endorsed Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick during last year’s election. Throughout his campaign, Patrick promised to repeal the DREAM Act if he was elected.