Bill Allows Lottery Scholarships for Undocumented Immigrants

Walter Rubel, Las Cruces Sun-News (NM), Mar. 2

SANTA FE—Undocumented immigrants would be eligible to qualify for the lottery scholarship and all other state grant and financial aid programs under a bill passed Tuesday in the Senate.

Sen. Cynthia Nava, D-Las Cruces, said removing the current prohibitions against undocumented immigrants is simply a matter of fairness.

“Young people affected by this bill did not have a say in their decision to come to New Mexico, and this gives them the same opportunity as their classmates,” she said.

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Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, who referred to a bill passed earlier in the Senate that would prohibit police from enforcing immigration laws as “treasonous,” said that this bill was “simultaneously right and wrong.”

He noted that under this bill, undocumented immigrants would qualify for a lottery scholarship, while soldiers who joined the Armed Services immediately after graduating from high school would not.

“And yet, what do we say to those who arrive here at age 8 or 9, through no fault of their own, and want to be a productive part of our society?” he asked.

He and several others said the real culprit is the federal government.

“We are helpless, our state is helpless, the Southwest is helpless in the face of federal policy, which has failed for going on 45 years,” he said.

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The bill passed 28-3, and now moves to the House for consideration.

The bill is SB582, and can be found on the Internet at legis.state.nm.us

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