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Florida ‘Dream Act’ to soon benefit some kids of illegal immigrants

TAMPA —
A new state bill is about to go into effect granting in-state tuition to children of some illegal immigrants.

The law would allow undocumented students in Florida to pay in-state tuition to attend Florida colleges.

The bill would grant in-state tuition rates to students-regardless of their immigration status-who attended a Florida high school for at least three years and who apply for college within two years of graduation. Undocumented students would not be eligible for state financial aid.
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This law will assist all eligible Florida resident students, regardless of whether they are eligible for, or have received, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Many people believe that children who entered the U.S. without lawful admission or who entered lawfully and overstayed their visas do not deserve any of the rights or benefits of those who are lawfully here. However, the state of Florida has a large, reasonably-priced and high-quality College and University System. As a state, we pride ourselves on our higher-education system, and because of its cost, we are a magnet for students from all over the United States and the world. We provide residents of Florida with a lower tuition rate as a reward for living in, working in, and contributing to our great state.

It makes no sense to punish high-aspiring and high-achieving teenagers by making them pay more for tuition than their high school classmates simply because of their parents immigration decisions in the past. Many of these children have been educated in our high schools, both public and private, and have succeeded enough to receive admission to a Florida college or university. That is the American Dream; to do better and succeed more than the generation before you. To make them pay more than their neighbors simply because their parents violated the immigration laws of the United States makes little economic or moral sense.

The state of Florida does not punish the children of criminals or convicted felons by denying them any of the rights and benefits of children whose parents have never been in trouble with the law. Rather, we applaud these children, who many times have come from disadvantaged situations and have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. We give them awards, we give them scholarships, we make them examples for others to follow. What sense does it make to punish similar children, many of whom did not violation any criminal immigration law and neither did their parents.

It is a smart decision for the state of Florida to keep talented homegrown and home-educated students in Florida by offering them in-state tuition. The alternative is losing them to other states that will offer similar benefits to our future educators, scientists, doctors, police officers and firefighters.

The law offices of Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon can help Florida’s children. If you have or know a child who is not a citizen, or who is in trouble with the law, call us today. We have experience with helping children with their immigration and criminal cases. We can help immigrant children seek U-Visas, T-Visas, asylum, withholding of removal, DACA, stays of removal, Speical Immigrant Juvenile status, naturalization and green cards. We can also represent children in the criminal juvenile justice system.