DENVER-After a ten-year struggle and the introductions of six different versions of the bill, Senate Bill 22-the ASSET bill sponsored by Senator Michael Johnston-passed out of the Colorado state legislature on March 8, 2013. The bill will allow undocumented graduates of a Colorado high school who attended for three years-or recipients of a Graduation Equivalency Diploma- to pay in-state tuition at Colorado colleges and universities. Senator Johnston has introduced a version of ASSET each year since 2011 and has said that the bill “is a statement of fairness and equity”.
Today, Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill into law and a signing ceremony took place at Metro State University where over a hundred undocumented students, their families, and supporters attended the historic event. Students can now begin receiving the in-state tuition rate as of the Fall Term of 2013. At the signing Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, “You focused on a goal and you worked hard in the face of great challenges to achieve it. And now your hard-won success will allow thousands of hard-working, capable, and ambitious students to pursue a better life for themselves and their families and to make a positive impact on our state and on our nation”.
Marco Dorado was just last month elected to the executive body of the University of Colorado student government. He spoke to The Nation Report after that election to talk about where the new executive body will focus. Dorado came to the U.S. at the age of two and will be one student who will benefit from the passing of SB33, “Access to higher education should not be contingent on good fortune but rather on one’s ability to succeed. I find comfort in knowing that no longer will Colorado students face the hopelessness that comes with realizing they cannot afford to fulfill their dreams. And in the words of George Washington Carver, ‘Education in the key to unlock the golden doors of freedom’”.
Flor Macias received her K-12 education in Colorado but was forced to move to New Mexico for college. New Mexico is one of thirteen surrounding states that offers the affordable tuition rates for those without a social security number. At the signing, she told The Nation Report what she feels the state needs to do to support the immigrant community, “I’ve lived in Boulder for the last 10 years. The driver’s license issue is a big deal because whether it’s to work or to study, you need to drive more than likely or even as a form of ID. It’s essential”.
The Nation Report will continue to follow the driver’s license bill and issues of comprehensive immigration reform.
Mildred Stallkamp/The Nation Report