Virginia Attorney General Declares ‘Dreamers’ Eligible for In-State Tuition

Laura Vozzella and Pamela Constable, Washington Post, April 29, 2014

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring thrust himself and his state back into the national spotlight Tuesday by announcing that some illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children can qualify for in-state college tuition under existing law.

Herring made the announcement at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria campus just a few months after the legislature declined to enact the idea and on the heels of another brazen legal move in January, when he declared that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

“We should welcome these smart, talented, hard-working young people into our economy and society rather than putting a stop sign at the end of 12th grade,” Herring (D) said Tuesday to sustained applause and cheers from a room full of Latino students, immigration activists and education officials.

Announced in Spanish, Hindi, Vietnamese and Korean in addition to English, Herring’s move built upon President Obama’s decision to allow thousands of young illegal immigrants to remain in the country. Virginia students who are lawfully present in the United States as a result of Obama’s effort, which is known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, qualify for in-state tuition as long as they meet the state’s residency requirements, Herring said.

Herring’s decision was far more than symbolic, instantly making college more affordable for more than 8,000 young illegal immigrants. {snip}

For affected students, securing an in-state discount would remove a financial hurdle that is insurmountable for many moderate-income families. At the University of Virginia, undergraduate tuition and fees in the coming school year for Virginia residents will total $12,998. For those from out of state, the charge will be $42,184.

{snip} This school year, there are about 137,000 Virginians who are undergraduates at public four-year universities. That’s about 80 percent of total enrollment. Herring’s move could provoke debate about the fiscal impact on public universities.


The attorney general’s announcement came after a legislative session in which a Republican-dominated House of Delegates and an evenly divided Senate declined to approve “Dream Act” bills, which would have accomplished through statute what Herring did Tuesday with the stroke of a pen. Similarly, his challenge to the marriage ban came as legislators made a failed bid this year to repeal it.

Herring said that in both cases, he was fulfilling his duty to ensure that the state’s policies and constitution comply with federal rules and the U.S. Constitution.


Herring’s legal interpretation, that the affected students have legal “domicile” in the state, could be reversed by a future attorney general. Still, his position has suddenly opened the door to a less expensive college education for thousands.


McAuliffe offered his full support, as did Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and the Virginia Catholic Conference, a group at odds with Herring in the marriage case.


Across the country, 19 states, including Maryland, have enacted some form of in-state tuition for qualified young illegal immigrants, spanning a variety of regions and political leanings. The others are: Texas, California, Utah, New York, Washington, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii, Michigan and Rhode Island.


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  • Pro_Whitey

    Vdare . com has explained that scumbag GOP lobbyist/campaign consultant Ed Gillespie influenced Ken Cuccinelli to deemphasize immigration control and enforcement, and this is the result. That Gillespie makes millions giving Republicans bum advice. I’d like that kind of gig.

    • And now Special Ed is running for Senate himself this year. Meaning Mark Warner has nothing to worry about.

    • Petronius

      During the 2013 Virginia election cycle we had to listen night after night to dozens of pro-McAwful and pro-Herring TV ads featuring self-described “Republicans” and “conservatives” who denounced then-Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and his running mate Mark Obenshain for their “extremist” or “radical” views, while proclaiming their support for the moderate and non-ideological Democrat candidates and all-around-nice-guys, Terry McAwful and Mark Herring.

      Somehow the Republican Governors Conference couldn’t find the money to support the Cuccinelli-Obenshain ticket. We kept waiting for the Republican response and counterattack. But somehow it never came.

      Like the besieged Huguenots of LaRochelle, we died a thousand deaths waiting for the English rescue fleet that never sailed.

      • And even at that, it barely worked, both Democrats barely won, and would not have if not for all the government workers in Fairfax County.

        • Oil Can Harry

          Another reason Terry McAwful squeaked by was the million$ donated to him by National Pest Mikey Bloomberg.

  • MekongDelta69

    Illegal alien = Cheap Rates

    Whites from out of state = Too bad pal. You get to pay for yourself at inflated prices and for that ‘Dreamer’ next to you.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Illegal criminals are given more rights than the citizens who built this country….illegals do nothing but take from those who created this country….and still want to destroy us.

    Until citizens en mass rise up and put a stop to this crap….it will continue to escalate and citizens WILL be put at the end of the line in the interest of ‘fairness’…..

  • borogirl54

    Maybe not for long if a Republican president stops this program and deports them all.

    • mobilebay

      Unless Eisenhower returns, we don’t have a prayer. The Republicans have found out what the Dems have known for a long time. Illegal immigration is profitable to all who approve it.

    • Greg Thomas

      And who is going to do that?

    • MBlanc46

      In some alternative universe, maybe.

    • JohnEngelman

      You are a Dreamer if you think that will happen.

  • Petronius

    You can add Virginia to the list of lost States. Virginia has been Californicated. It has become an occupied country where the foreign vote is decisive.

    I was at busy Fashion Square Mall –– Charlottesville’s only indoor mall –– last week, looked around, and realized that (except for one other dinosaur) I was the only American in the entire place.

    Thousands of foreigners milling about, old hands and new arrivals, busy taking over, shopping, eating, squatting, teeming, shouting, spending their EBT cards, the never-ending jackhammer of their hideous languages, yak-yaking on their Obama-phones, all saying nothing, children swarming, babies screaming, lap dogs yapping.

    Northern Virginia is even worse. It’s like Mogadishu or Juarez but with high-rise buildings, technology, and traffic jams. In Northern Virginia even the babies have tattoos.

    When you change the trees in the forest, it is no longer the same forest.

  • mobilebay

    Smart? Talented? Hard working? If they really have all these qualities, why don’t they know we don’t want people sneaking across our border? Blame your illegal parents, Dreamers, but know that you are just as illegal as they are.

  • OhWow

    RIP America.

  • MBlanc46

    [S]smart, talented, hard-working young people…”

    I must have misunderstood. I thought they were talking about Mexicans.

  • Who Me?

    “We should welcome these smart, talented, hard-working young people into our economy and society…”
    Yes indeed, all 14 of them…………..

  • IstvanIN

    My big-mouthed Governor, Krispy Kreme, did the same thing here, enthusiastically supported the notion that family and I subsidize the college education of people who have always been a net drain on the tax coffers.

  • Irishgirl

    The attorney general’s argument is clearly a red Herring. (Yes, I went with the bad pun.)

    • dukem1

      I’ll give an upvote for your pun.
      And for providing a gram of wit to this overwhelmingly depressing article.
      Thanx, Irishgirl!

  • Eugenicist

    It doesn’t matter at this point. The money is being digitally conjured out of thin air, for one. Our currency is doomed to collapse anyway (by design.) And college has become a worthless institution, outside of the hard maths and sciences – which few of these immigrants will pursue. Our kids are better off apprenticing in a useful and productive trade (growing food, fixing things), as those will be the only available jobs going forward. Paper-pushing office jobs will become largely extinct.

  • rentslave

    Virginia has become Santa Claus,after all.

  • rockmanr

    Each illegal in college means one less citizen there instead, as classes fill up. I recall Fresno State in the mid 1970s when the Hispanics attacked registering freshmen with pipes. They were upset about funding issues. Put high school age girls in the hospital as no police showed up to protect the white folk

  • Dale McNamee

    Do away with the whole “in-state/ out of state tuition” con…

    I never could understand why classes attended by in-state students cost more for out of state students attending the exactly same class…
    This con has been going on since before I attended college (1971-1975)…

    The fact that people who shouldn’t even be in the US are given preference over native born students of American parents who live here legally is disgusting… And according to the Mexican Constitution, these “dreamers” are MEXICAN citizens, NOT US !

    I wonder when we can disregard laws like the ” Feral” Gov’t. does ?