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Rep. John Lewis Bill Prohibits Discrimination Against DREAMers Seeking a College Education

July 26, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made the following statement today upon introduction of the Higher Education Dream Act (H.R.6525), his bill to prohibit discrimination against Dreamer students in higher education. 

“Young people are our nation’s future, and we must allow them every chance to succeed.  The Higher Education Dream Act will ensure our colleges and universities reflect the United States’ commitment to justice and equality.

“DREAMers were brought here as little children,” said Lewis.   “For most, this is the only country they have ever known.  Among them are future business owners, scientists, teachers, doctors, and lawyers, yet they cannot build lives for themselves or plan their future education because this nation does not have a clear, fair immigration policy that acknowledges their humanity.   While members of Congress are caught up in political webs of their own making, the lives of tens of thousands of young people are hanging in the balance.  They want to become productive citizens of this nation, but Congress has not had the courage to take action.

“These young people cannot wait until politicians see fit to face the truth and develop an immigration reform policy that helps us live up to the principles of true democracy,” Lewis said.  "In the meantime, I hope this bill will help continue a conversation in Georgia and across America about how we can best help these young people reach their full potential for themselves, their families, our communities and for the betterment of this nation.”

Discriminatory policies in many states keep DREAMers from accessing higher education.  In Georgia, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are barred from attending the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and Georgia College.  DREAMers from Georgia attending other Georgia schools must pay out-of-state tuition.  Georgia’s policy has been unsuccessfully challenged in Federal and State courts.

The Higher Education Dream Act prohibits institutions of higher education receiving federal funds from refusing to admit, enroll, or grant in-state tuition to qualified students on the basis of immigration status.  You can find the text of the Higher Education Dream Act here and a fact sheet about the legislation here.

Congressman Lewis is an outspoken advocate for the rights and dignity of immigrants.  He is a proud cosponsor of H.R. 3440, the DREAM Act, which would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for those brought to the United States as children.  He is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 3591, the American Hope Act, making DREAMers eligible for Federal student aid.  The Higher Education Dream Act complements both of these initiatives.