The Colorado ASSET legislation – a state tuition bill that will allow young immigrants living in Colorado to pay in-state tuition for college – has just passed a final vote in the Colorado House today with a 40-21 vote margin, its last step before arriving on the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has vowed to sign it. While previous iterations of the bill have died seven times in previous legislative sessions, today’s passage is an important reminder about the changed nature of immigration debate and why the prospects for common-sense reform are better than ever.
Said Patty Kupfer, Managing Director at America’s Voice Education Fund:
It’s a new day. After a 10-year journey, the passage of Colorado ASSET with support from six Republican legislators, is one more sign that the landscape of the immigration debate has changed. Colorado is a bell weather state when it comes to the power of Latino voters and the ability of these voters to shape the future of key swing states and the nation. Today, we celebrate the opportunity for thousands of students across Colorado who will now have a real shot at higher education, and energized by this victory, we look toward the national debate and winning a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens. Let’s hope that lawmakers at the national level are taking note.
Last month, the ASSET bill passed an initial vote in the Senate with the support of three Republican state Senators. One of these members, Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, wrote a Facebook post detailing his evolution on the bill from being a vocal opponent of ASSET to a new supporter. Writes Sen. Brophy:
Our Founders wrote that we have certain inalienable rights, one of those is the pursuit of happiness. The ability to own the fruits of your labor; in most cases, those fruits are greater if you are educated. State policy currently denies some kids who have lived here for years access to higher education at the same rates as the rest of their classmates. We can change that…In the state legislature, we can’t solve a broken immigration system that denies people the opportunity to pursue the American dream, but we can defy those federal authorities when their policies are contrary to the foundational tenants of our Republic. I’m willing to do that on Second Amendment grounds, why not be willing to do in on pursuit of happiness grounds too?