Reps. Nikema Williams and Ruben Gallego Reintroduce Bill Expanding Higher Education Opportunities for Dreamers in Honor of Rep. John Lewis

Jul 29, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) and Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) led fourteen of their House colleagues in reintroducing the Higher Education Dream Act, which protects Dreamers from discrimination in higher education eligibility, admissions, tuition, and access to financial aid. Last Congress, Congressman John Lewis led this legislation along with Congressman Gallego.

“Dreamers are our neighbors, colleagues, classmates, and family,” said Congresswoman Williams. “Our economy and country are stronger, more united, and more diverse because of Dreamers. I am committed to doing all I can to ensure Dreamers can achieve the promise of America, and that starts with unlocking higher education opportunities. I am proud to join Congressman Gallego in leading this legislation to ensure Dreamers have the ability both to access and afford higher education.”

“I am proud to reintroduce the Higher Education Dream Act in memory of Congressman John Lewis, who co-led this bill with me last Congress and firmly believed that we must keep the promise of access to education for every American, regardless of immigration status,” said Rep. Gallego. “As the DACA program continues to face attacks in the courts and Congress considers pathways to citizenship for immigrant populations, this bill is a reminder that securing access to education is critical part of ensuring undocumented Americans can pursue their American dream. Immigrant students represent the strength and potential of our nation and economy, and they must not continue to be cruelly blocked from the pursuit of higher education.”

Although states are required to provide all students with primary and secondary education regardless of immigration status, there is no national policy requiring access to education past the high school level. As a result, a patchwork of policies exists across the country, many of which fully or partially bar aspiring Dreamers from pursuing higher education. Georgia bars Dreamer students from attending many public institutions of higher education.

The Higher Education Dream Act guarantees Dreamer students the opportunity to pursue higher education free from discrimination by:

  • Prohibiting institutions that receive federal funds from refusing to admit, enroll, or grant in-state tuition benefits to Dreamers who otherwise meet all qualifications;
  • Making sure Dreamers have access to federal financial aid to ensure that they can afford and access higher education; and
  • Banning any distribution of identifiable or sensitive information from Dreamers’ applications.

The Higher Education Dream Act is also cosponsored by Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM), and Darren Soto (D-FL).

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