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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: dream act

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April 1, 2014 at 6:06 AM

As Wash. extends financial aid to ‘dreamers,’ Congress should reconsider immigration reform

One of the few controversial measures to pass the Washington state Legislature with bipartisan support this past session is now in effect statewide. The REAL Hope Act is a shining example of how states can take small steps to reform immigration policy — with or without congressional action.

Screenshot of the website where students can find out more about the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

Screenshot of the website where students can find out more about the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

A Monday press release sent to the media from the Washington Student Achievement Council included a catchy subject line: “Calling all dreamers” — application for state financial aid now available.

This is a special moment for bright students — known as dreamers — who are

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Comments | Topics: dream act, immigration reform, Washington Legislature

January 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Patty Murray leads as Washington lawmakers stall on Dream Act

Impeccable timing.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the IN-STATE for Dreamers Act of 2014, a measure that would provide states more money to help low-income kids pay for college tuition, regardless of their citizenship status. As The Seattle Times’ Kyung Song reports in this news story, Murray suggests paying for the $750 million cost by increasing student visas fees for international students.

If Congress agrees to pass Murray’s bill, the money would certainly help students in her home state. Look at the chart below, which shows how many of the state’s lowest-income students over the years have been served or turned away by the State Need Grant program.

Source: Washington Student Achievement Council, 2013 Roadmap Report

Source: Washington Student Achievement Council, 2013 Ten-Year Roadmap Report

Washington state could qualify for federal funding because it provides in-state tuition rates to all students, including the undocumented. So let’s encourage Congress to pass Murray’s legislation.

The timing is interesting because in Olympia, the state Legislature is considering the Washington State Dream Act, which would allow undocumented students to apply for the State Need Grant program. The Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial Friday supporting the effort, which sailed through the House within hours of the session’s start on Monday. HB 1817 is currently stuck in the Senate Higher Education Committee. Chairwoman Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, should give it a hearing and advance it to the floor.

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Comments | Topics: dream act, financial aid, patty murray

April 18, 2013 at 6:04 AM

Washington senators fail to pass abortion insurance, but not too late for Dream Act

Let me start by reiterating one point: The Seattle Times editorial board respects a woman’s right to privacy and to receive insurance coverage for maternal or abortion care. In our editorial, we have supported HB 1044, the Reproductive Parity Act, and I’ve written about this issue several times over the last few months in blog posts.

Fast forward to the present.

I should have known women’s health would be used as a political football. Somehow, I thought members of the Washington state Senate would find a way to call a truce and pass the Reproductive Parity Act — a bill that simply protects the state’s current rules after federal health care reforms take effect.

I was wrong. Flat-out naive, really, to think lawmakers would respect the will of most Washington voters on this sensitive issue.

We can’t assign blame to one party or coalition. There’s enough of that to go around.

Pro-abortion rights lawmakers such as state Sens. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Karen Keiser, D-Kent, are understandably peeved by two failed efforts within 48 hours to bring the RPA to the floor, according to this Tuesday press statement and a Wednesday Associated Press news story. (Watch TVW’s video of  the second contentious show-down below.) Just don’t forget this issue also stalled last year when the chamber was controlled by Democrats.

In 2012, then-Senate Democratic Majority Leader Lisa Brown held a version of the Reproductive Parity Act until the end of the session,  then attached it to a Republican budget bill during the contentious ninth order proceedings as part of a failed power play. (For a primer on what happened, here is a 2012 Crosscut story and a March 5, 2012 press release issued by the RPA’s co-sponsor, state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, explaining how he got politically steam rolled on the issue.)

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Comments | More in Video | Topics: abortion, dream act, Reproductive Parity Act