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Greater Phoenix Chamber: Vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 308 to give ‘Dreamers’ an equal shot at higher learning

Photo of Dreamers in Phoenix
Activists’ signs express support for immigrant community at a rally to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA in Downtown Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 5, 2017. (File Photos/
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Greater Phoenix Chamber urges Arizona voters to vote “yes” in support of Proposition 308.

Prop. 308, if ratified by voters, would allow non-citizen students, except those considered to be “nonresident aliens” under federal law, to receive in-state college tuition when they attend school for at least two years and graduate from a public school, private school or homeschool in Arizona.

The previous policy prohibited undocumented residents from receiving publicly funded services, including financial aid and college tuition, chamber officials say. Due to this, Dreamers must pay 150% of in-state tuition and almost four times per credit hour to attend Arizona public community colleges.

The newly proposed referral would repeal provisions of Prop. 300 and allow non-citizen Dreamers to receive in-state college tuition, making the state’s economic future much more secure, proponents of the proposition contend.

It is estimated that Arizona has a $660,000 return for every single college graduate.

Nearly 2,000 “Dreamers” graduate from Arizona high schools each year, many leaving the state to pursue more affordable higher education, according to Todd Sanders, Greater Phoenix Chamber president and CEO.

“There is no question that allowing Dreamers to receive in-state tuition is vital for a healthy future for the state of Arizona,” he said. “Not only is this essential for the health of our economy, but we also firmly believe that all Arizonans should be met with dignity, respect and opportunity.”

— Todd Sanders

According to current economic projections, the state is not nearly equipped with the workforce needed for the rapidly growing Arizona economy.

Members from both political parties and numerous business and community leaders in Arizona agree with this newly proposed referral. Phoenix Chamber officials say they look forward to working with partners such as the Chicanos Por La Causa Action Fund to inform voters between now and November about the economic benefits of passing Prop. 308.

While the more than 600,000 active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients can renew their temporary protections, Dreamers still lack a permanent solution to their immigration status and many young people who might have been previously eligible for the program have not been able to enroll due to ongoing court challenges.

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