Dream Act Makes Education a Reality For Students

February 27, 2014

South’s contingent of students and staff gathered around DREAM Act proponent Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney immediately after the bill was signed.

Years from now, students will find Feb. 26th in their Washington State history books. But for a group of South students, Feb. 26th will be the day they became a part of history.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Washington Dream Act surrounded by supporters of the bill, including South students Ariel Garcia and Nicole Harris. With the Governor’s signature, Washington has opened the doors for young, undocumented immigrants – most brought to Washington as young children - to apply for state need grants to pay for college. Washington joins California, Illinois, Texas and New Mexico who have all passed similar measures.

 “I feel like I was a part of history,” Garcia explained. “We are making history and we are leaving our mark. Hopefully, this will help us get to our ultimate goal of having a nation-wide Dream Act pass.”

The historical significance of this event was certainly not lost on Gov. Inslee, either. "I've had some good days as governor of the state of Washington, but this may be the best," he said.

A 13th Year Promise Scholar and student body President at South, Garcia said that many of his high school classmates from Chief Sealth International High School were undocumented students and didn’t have the same opportunity to pursue their academic dreams.

“A lot of my classmates (from CSIHS) are really smart in math and science. Some of them were even better than I was but they didn’t have the same opportunity that I had just because they were undocumented,” Garcia continued. “This is going to be a HUGE year for the state of Washington. These students will be able to do something positive for their families, their community and the whole state of Washington.”

Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray shared Garcia’s sentiments as she praised the passage of the DREAM act.

“They grow up in the same towns, attend the same schools, and share the same dreams – and they deserve an equal chance to go to college and start successful careers in this country,” Murray explained in a press release. “Supporting undocumented students in our state is an important start, but as Americans, we can’t stop there.  That’s why last month, I introduced a bill that would provide incentives for other states to get on board with what we’re doing in Washington and offer in-state tuition and need-based federal financial aid for DREAMers.”    

The bill is set to take effect in Washington starting in June. For more information on how you can apply for the DREAM Act and apply it to your education at South, stop by our Financial Aid Office in the Robert Smith building – at the South end of campus – or call 206 934 5317.