Virginia DREAM Act Dies in House, Del. Rust Still Encouraged

Herndon's Del. Rust was encouraged by the support the bill received this year, and will reintroduce it next year.

The Virginia DREAM Act — legislation that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state college tuition — has died in Richmond, but supporters are optimistic the bill will pass next year.

"I was encouraged," said Del. Tom Rust, R-Herndon, chief patron of the bill. "The bill has never gotten this far before. In fact, it's never gotten anywhere. I was encouraged by the response. It got a lot of support. I will be introducing it again next year, and I will be working on it between now and then."

For the past seven years, similar legislation has died in a House subcommittee. This year, though, the measure , and it then passed the full House Education Committee with a 17-4 vote. There was no opposition expressed to the bill at either hearing, said Rust's office. 

It helped that the coalition supporting the bill expanded to include chambers of commerce in Arlington, Fairfax and Reston, not to mention several colleges and universities and faith-based organizations.

"I'm incredibly optimistic," said Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington. "I definitely think the support we have this year will carry over to next year — and will only grow. And I'm going to continue working incredibly hard to make sure that happens."

But late last week, the bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, which refused to hear it, Lopez said. That committee would have had to hear the matter last week in order for the bill to get three readings on the House floor by Tuesday, the so-called crossover deadline for legislation to move from one chamber to the other in the Virginia General Assembly.

Rust said he believed President Barack Obama's executive order in June — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows children of illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria to obtain work visas and remain in the U.S. — helped generate support for this year's proposal in Virginia.

Since Obama's reelection in November, bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform is higher than it has been in years.

Some state lawmakers raised legitimate questions as to what would happen to the proposed Virginia law in case immigration reform is passed at the federal level, Rust said.

Though the bill — a combination of legislation originally proposed by Rust and Lopez — died in the Appropriations Committee, Lopez said the cost to the state was negligible.

"What happens is it's another year of kids who are having to wait," he said. "And that's a tragedy."

William Campenni February 07, 2013 at 12:50 PM
"Lopez said the cost to the state was negligible." Utter nonsense and deceit. Federal law mandates that although a state is able to charge an in-state tuition rate to illegal aliens, if it does so it must also give the same rate to out-of-state US citizens. Current tuition for state universities averages $10,000 for in-state students and $24,000 for out-of-state students. The tuition drop of $14,000 for 29,000 out-of-sate students is a reduction of income of $400,000,000. The cost to Virginia of that $400 million shortfall would have to be made up either by massive new taxes or a significant rise in tuition for in-state students. Lopez was quite aware of this shortfall but relied on a false impact statement that did no calculations, and ironically suggested that any cost of the Rust-Lopez bill could be made up of admitting more out-of-state students paying a higher tuition, something expressly forbidden by federal law. Apparently the mantra that with regard to immigration issues that federal law preemts state law does not apply when the benefit is to illegals. Those of you who support this failed bill next year remember that when your kid's tuition skyrockets.
Chaz Holland February 07, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Adamantly opposed to any such "magnet" legislation which will attract more illegal aliens to VA.
Barbara Glakas February 07, 2013 at 04:58 PM
So are you saying that Delegate Rust proposed a bill that was “expressly forbidden by Federal law?” House bill 1842 took care of that and it is why states such as California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, Nebraska, New York, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, have all passed similar type of bills. What I am curious about is why Delegate Rust has suddenly changed his tune again on this issue. This year he bragged about how he chief patroned this Dream Act bill (which I’m glad he did). And he is quoted in the article as saying he was encouraged, saying “The bill has never gotten this far before. In fact, it's never gotten anywhere.” But one reason it has “never gotten this far before” is because he always voted against it. In 2007 he voted against allowing in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, and in 2006 and 2011 he voted against allowing undocumented immigrants to attend public state universities at all. Did he suddenly change his tune because he will have a challenger in the upcoming election? I’m not sure, but either way, I have a hard time knowing what his core values are on this issue.
Louis Horvath February 07, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Geepers, Bill, don't let facts get in your way!
simon February 07, 2013 at 07:00 PM
"What happens is it's another year of kids who are having to wait," he said. "And that's a tragedy." No Mr Lopez, a tragedy is when a country's own citizen is put behind illegal aliens. It is a sad day when my child is an American and will be charged the out of state tuition but an illegal alien gets a free pass. Most of you politicians don't care for your country everything is about getting the vote. You politicians me sick.
William Campenni February 07, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Sorry Barb, but you are wrong. You should stay out of legal issues which for you and Louie are beyond your ken. The mandate for equal tuition for out-of-state US citizens prevails no matter what the Dream Act delivers, unless the legislation is amended to include provisions addressing out-of-state students, which it currently does not. However, Delegate Rust will appreciate your support, and opponents Boysko and Kemp will be dissapointed that you are now in the Rust camp. Who knew a little thing like a Dream Act would make you a Republican voter.
Delegate Tom Rust February 08, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Mr. Campenni and I have an honest disagreement on the in-state vs. out-of-state costs about which we have corresponded in several occasions. I even offered to meet with him to discuss in person the issue. I do not believe providing in-state tuition would expose Virginia to the costs about which Mr. Campenni is concerned. My reasoning is based on the fact that 12 states have done this and lawsuits were filed against two of the states (California & Kansas). The courts upheld the state's decision to award in-state tuition to these students. Both cases were appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court which declined to hear the cases; therefore, the lower court decisions were upheld. During the hearings in Richmond no one raised this issue including the Office of the Attorney General. In regard to Ms. Glakas' comments about why I changed my mind on the issue. It is public record in my testimony at the hearing and in the media that I changed my position because of the President' Executive Order on June 15, 2012 which allowed these young people to remain in the U. S. and to get work permits in order to legally secure jobs. My opposition prior to June 15, 2012 was that these individuals could not secure legal work so furthering their education was of limited value to Virginia. I hope this information is helpful and clears up any misunderstandings.
William Campenni February 08, 2013 at 05:57 PM
I must reply to Delegate Rust because his defenses are misleading. Let's start out with what the federal law (8 USC 1623) states, specifically: “An alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a state for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such benefit.” The issue is NOT in-state tuition to illegal aliens, wrongful as that may be. It is the fact that 8 USC 1623 mandates the same tuition to out-of-state U.S. citizens. Before specific objections to Del. Rust's points, what happened to all those who objected to enacted Commonwealth and Herndon laws because they were preempted by federal immigration law? Little hypocrisy, no? Yes, twelve states currently are pushing in-state rates for illegals yet out-of-state rates for U.S. citizens. That they are allowed to ignore pre-empting federal immigration law is not a matter of legality, but of intentional non-enforcement. The two cases that Del. Rust refers to did not invalidate or negate the provisions of 8 USC 1623, which if you read the opinions and appeals of those cases never overturn the legality of that law. The Kansas case was dismissed on narrow points of law - that the students as private citizens did not have standing and that their complaint was poorly worded. The Supreme Court declined to hear it, without prejudice, so the issue may be revisited. (continues below)
William Campenni February 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM
The California case was declined on similar narrow points of law. It did not negate the applicability of 8 USC 1623. However, the University of California Board of Regents was so frightful in its fear of liability for violating federal law that it sought legislation to preclude the recovery of damages arising from any lawsuits. Ironically, legislators offered no explanation of how a state could give itself permission to violate federal law and immunize itself from any damages that might otherwise apply. Del Rust did not propose similar legislation to try (vainly) to shield Virginia universities from the folly of this legislation. Thus while there may be a temporary hold on pre-emption enforcement because of the political agenda of the US Department of Justice, there is no guarantee that a sudden change of administrations or public pressure or a new and successful legal challenge by class-action out-of-state students will not immediately expose Virginia to a $400,000,000 shortfall. Does Del. Rust want to expose the Commonwealth to that burden? Then there is The Law. It's what maintains our civilization when our basic instincts and personal appetites might wish for other. In a Man for All Seasons, Thomas More as an all-powerful Chancellor of the Exchequer is challenger to ignore the law to accomplish a more personal agenda. Rather than quote it here, I suggest you see it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgT2n7vePCQ Please, Del. Rust, follow the law.
Barbara Glakas February 09, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Delegate Rust, Thanks for your feedback on this issue. The reason I said that I was not sure what your core values are on this issue is because you have shifted your position on it so many times over the last few years. In 2006 you voted to prohibit undocumented immigrants from even enrolling in public universities. Then in 2007 you voted to prevent them from getting in-state tuition. Then in 2011 you were back to prohibiting them from enrolling. Now in 2013 you support in-state tuition for them. So it’s hard for me to trust your true values on this policy, when you have waffled back and forth on it. What do you REALLY believe in? I can’t help but think that if you had felt strongly that all students residing in Virginia should have access to higher education, which you would have been fighting for that all along – especially as a member of the House Education Committee – as opposed to waiting to see what the President and other states did. I was surprised that you were quoted in the article as saying of this Virginia Dream Act-like legislation that, "The bill has never gotten this far before. In fact, it's never gotten anywhere,” when you have been voting against it for years. Nevertheless, regardless of your motivations or recent change of heart, I supported your effort this year to pass the bill, even though it died in the Appropriations Committee.
Barbara Glakas February 09, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Correction: In the second line of the second paragraph of my above post (Feb 9, 10:09), I meant to say "that you would have been fighting for," not "which you would hav been fighting for."
William Campenni February 09, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Thanks Ms. Glakas. You educate these politicians that pandering to the illegal alien advocates just won't work. And they had counted on winning your vote. Could you please also send your comments to Messrs McCain, Rubio, Graham, and Rove down at the Republican headquarters? They also thought they had your vote wrapped up with their pandering moves. And while you're at it, could you also send the part about ". . . it’s hard for me to trust your true values on this policy, when you have waffled back and forth on it." to the man who stands astride the Glakasian pedestal, Barack Obama, telling him likewise that you don't appreciate his waffling on those issues he was against before he became for, like unpatriotic deficits, gay marriage, keeping Guantanamo, tax increases on the middle class, cost increases to healthcare, etc. etc. You can twitter him on your Obamaphone.
Barbara Glakas February 09, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Bill, Glakasian pedestal. Nice one. Sorry you are sore about the President. You keep quoting Federal law, but the broader point that I think you are missing is that the general public is ready for these laws to change. That is why you see movement on this issue. That is why both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as the President, are working on updating our immigration laws. That is why many states have already started adopting their own version of the Dream Act. I know you and I have different points of view on this use, but in the long run, I believe a Dream Act law will be good for Virginia. And yes, Jennifer Boysko has supported this consistently.


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