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Dream Act Bill Filed in Florida Legislature

A bill that would make college more affordable for undocumented immigrants has recently been filed in the Florida Legislature.

If passed, the Dream Act would allow undocumented immigrants who attended three or more years of high school in Florida to qualify for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. To qualify for in-state tuition, these prospective students would also have to prove that they graduated from high school and are enrolled in college courses. Prospective students who do not have legal immigration status would also have to prove that they are trying to obtain legal residency status or citizenship.

A similarly named bill failed in the U.S. Congress in December. The federal-level DREAM Act would have granted legal status to countless students and members of the military. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors bill languished largely because of Republican opposition.

Florida's bill, which stands to be debated during the Legislature's upcoming session, was introduced by in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) and in the Florida Senate by Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) earlier this week. It would not grant legal status to undocumented immigrants.

For years, state legislators have been pushing for Dream Act-style legislation. As the Miami Herald reported as recently as January, longtime backers of these bills have little hope for its success -- especially in light of Gov. Rick Scott's emphatic, zero-tolerance approach to illegal immigration.

As detailed by the New York Times, California is likely to pass its own version of the Dream Act. Eleven states now have laws that allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, and eight more are considering Dream Act-style legislation in upcoming legislative sessions.

Check back to the Pulp for updates.

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Victoria Bekiempis

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