By Evan Smith
State Rep. Cindy Ryu noted in her first newsletter of the 2014 legislative session that the House of Representatives had broken its tradition of reserving the first day of its session for ceremony. Instead, it passed a bipartisan vote (71-23) of the DREAM Act, which will open state financial-aid to children of undocumented immigrants.
“This is not an inconsequential ‘feel good bill,’” Ryu said in a letter to constituents last week. “In fact, it is a great big bill. The DREAM Act will help open the doors of our universities to all students – even those who may have undocumented status because they were brought to this country when they were young by their undocumented parents or were born at home and their births not recorded.
“Rep. Ruth Kagi and I recently met with a group of students from the Latino Educational Achievement Project. These students, and many others I have met, have graduated from our high schools, received high grades and high test scores. They worked hard to earn their way into our colleges and universities. But due to their status, they do not have the same opportunities as their high school friends. And yet, the United States is the only home they know.”
Ryu and Kagi are Democrats representing the 32nd Legislative District, including Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway, unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County near Edmonds and Woodway, Shoreline, and part of northwest Seattle.
“These students will tell you that they too dream of a college education and giving back to their community and country by becoming productive adults,” Ryu said. “I proudly voted for a bill that will help them achieve their goal. It will allow all students to become eligible for the State Need Grant. It is the right thing to do for these students, the right thing to do for our economy and the right thing to do for our country.
“We are a nation of immigrants. I, as an immigrant and currently the only immigrant in the Washington State Legislature, strongly support the belief that every child in Washington State, regardless of race, religion or circumstance, should have a great education and a fair shot at the American Dream.
“This legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate even if allowed to come to the floor. I will try my best to help my colleagues in the Senate to understand and consider this most important piece of legislation.”
Below is a video of Rep. Ryu talking about SSB 5023 in 2011.