News

PRESS RELEASE: Immigrant Advocates, DREAMers Support Tuition Equity Measures in the Georgia State House of Representatives

*MEDIA ADVISORY FOR*

February 27, 2020

Contact: Jeff Migliozzi, jeff.migliozzi@splcenter.org / (334) 303-1261

Swathi Shanmugasundaram, sshan@advancingjustice-atlanta.org / (404) 585-8446

Brian Nuñez, brian@georgiashift.com / (404) 957-3087

Immigrant Advocates, DREAMers[1] Support Tuition Equity Measures in the Georgia State House of Representatives

WHAT: Immigrant community organizations will show their support for efforts aimed at making college more affordable for DREAMERs and immigrant students.

WHO:  Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Freedom University, Georgia Shift, CAIR Georgia, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Project South, Women Watch Afrika, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, and the SPLC Action Fund

WHEN: Thursday, February 27, 2020, at 12:00 pm EST (or upon adjournment of the State House)

 

WHERE: Paul D. Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB) – 18 Capitol Square SW, Atlanta, GA     30334, Room 610

 

ATLANTA – Immigrant community organizations and DREAMERs collectively support in-state tuition measures to create tuition equity and make college more affordable for DREAMERs and immigrant students. Georgia is one of only three states that explicitly prohibits in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Advocates view the in-state tuition bills introduced in the Georgia State House as a critical step in the right direction for Georgia.

This year, legislators in Georgia introduced three different measures, each of which seeks to provide immigrant students the opportunity to grow and contribute in their home state if students meet certain conditions and qualifications. Advocates see HB896 as the broadest and most comprehensive of the three bills, pointing to its privacy protections for students applying for in-state tuition. Moreover, HB896 does not impose an age limit for arrival to the U.S. as a child and does not set forth limits to the age by which someone must enroll in an institution of higher learning.

“It is time for Georgia to step up to meet the dreams of all Georgians, including DREAMERs,” says Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO). “Denying access to education does not reflect who we are as Georgians, and legislation like this helps move our state forward. Not only would in-state tuition benefit these young people, but it would also ensure our state has a strong and educated workforce to meet our needs.”

“Far too many talented and deserving Georgians have their dreams of a college education shattered because our state currently denies them access to tuition equity,” said Isabel Otero, policy associate with the SPLC Action Fund. “DREAMERs and other immigrant students currently pay 2 to 4 times more in order to access higher education in Georgia.[2] Tuition equity would remove a huge barrier to those who want to further their education and contribute to the diversity and vitality of the state they call home.”

According to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute,[3] twenty-two percent of DREAMers in Georgia are enrolled in high school and another 13 percent are enrolled in college. The authors of HB896 have pledged to work with impacted communities and grassroots organizations on the limitations of the bill.

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Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building. We have been working with communities pushed forward by the struggle for over 30 years – to strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. Visit https://projectsouth.org             Follow @ProjectSouth

The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) educates, organizes, and empowers Latinos in Georgia to defend and advance their civil and human rights. Established in 2001, GLAHR is a community-based organization that develops statewide grassroots leadership.

Visit http://glahr.org      Follow @GLAHR_

The SPLC Action Fund is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using lobbying, grassroots organizing, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC Action Fund works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

Visit www.splcenter.org      Follow @splcenter

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta is the first nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in Georgia and the Southeast.

Visit https://advancingjustice-atlanta.org/           Follow @AAAJ_Atlanta

CAIR Georgia is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with regional offices nationwide and in Canada. The national headquarters is located on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.  mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Visit https://www.cairgeorgia.com/      Follow @CAIR_GA

Women Watch Afrika is a grassroots, nonprofit, international, national, and local social justice organization focused on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, the promotion of social and economic development and health equity of women, and the acculturation of immigrants and refugees (men, women, and children) arriving to the United States from 23 African nations. In line with its goal, Women Watch Afrika provides Social Services, Legal Services, Advocacy, Health Education, Legal Education, End Domestic Violence classes, Stop FGM/C workshops, Know Your Rights workshops, Citizenship Preparation, Civic Engagement; and Advocates against unjust, discriminatory laws that affect the community.

Visit https://womenwatchafrika.org/     Follow @WomenWatchAfri

Georgia Association for Latino Elected Officials’ mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia. GALEO strives for a better Georgia where the Latino community is engaged civically and its contributions and concerns are recognized.

Visit https://galeo.org/     Follow @GALEOorg

Freedom University is a modern-day freedom school based in Atlanta. We provide tuition-free and rigorous college preparation classes, college and scholarship application assistance, and social movement leadership development for undocumented students in Georgia. Our mission is to empower undocumented youth and fulfill their human right to education.

Visit https://freedom-university.org/    Follow @FU_Georgia

Georgia Shift is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that gives marginalized young people a seat at the table of democracy through electoral action, hands-on education, and civic media programs. On campuses and communities across the state, we organize young people to build independent political power.

Visit https://georgiashift.com/     Follow @GeorgiaShift

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[1] People who are protected by the Executive Memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are referred to as DREAMers after a piece of federal legislation proposed called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (or DREAM Act). https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/dream-act-daca-and-other-policies-designed-protect-dreamers

[2] Lee, (2020). Every Georgian Deserves Access to High Education. Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. https://gbpi.org/2020/every-georgian-deserves-access-to-higher-education/

[3] Zong, J., et. Al. (2017). A profile of current DACA recipients by education, industry, and occupation. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/profile-current-daca-recipients-education-industry-and-occupation