Lawmakers Debate Getting Rid of Texas Dream Act

Lawmakers Debate Getting Rid of Texas Dream Act

By Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

A law that has been on the books for almost 15 years is under attack. Lawmakers are considering getting rid of the Texas Dream Act. The law gives in-state tuition to students who came to Texas illegally.

17 other states have followed Texas' lead after they enacted the Dream Act over a decade ago.

Art Leal with Una Voz Unida in Odessa said getting rid of the Dream Act would be a mistake.

"Students who have been here for the majority of their lives, who have gone to our public schools and have graduated from high school deserve that opportunity to go to college. They're just as Texan as anyone else," said Leal.

Hispanic lawmakers argue that this Act allows almost 25,000 students to go to college, who otherwise couldn't afford it.

"They would charge undocumented children five times the tuition and treat them as international students. We believe it's unfair to students," said Leal.

But those who oppose the Act argue that it's unfair for American citizens to pay out of state tuition while illegal immigrants don't. The Midland County Republican Chairman, James Beauchamp, said no matter which group is paying less, taxpayers fill the void.

"Anytime you try to carve out for one group instead of the other, there becomes issues. Because at the end of the day, the cost of providing an education to someone is the same. It doesn't matter where they are from, so if we're going to have someone pay less, somebody somewhere else is going to have to pay more," said Beauchamp.

Beauchamp said he thinks lawmakers will get rid of the Act and argued that we should focus more on lowering tuition for all students.

"We shouldn't be concerned about any one group.  We need to be concerned about everyone making higher education affordable for everyone," said Beauchamp.

The Dream Act is still being debated in the Senate. Governor Greg Abbott has said if the majority wishes to repeal the Act, he would sign it.