January 17, 2014 STATEMENT-LIRS Welcomes Introduction of the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act

Washington, DC January 17, 2014-Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), the national organization established by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people, welcomes Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jared Polis’ (D-CO) introduction of the Investing IN States To Achieve Tuition Equity (IN-STATE) for Dreamers Act of 2014.  The act encourages states to provide in-state tuition and need-based financial aid to DREAMers.  U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) have also signed on as original co-sponsors of this legislation.

There are currently an estimated 1.8 million individuals nationwide who qualify as “DREAMers,” or young undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country when young.  These men and women have grown up in our country and consider the United States their home. They seek the opportunity to pursue higher education and realize their full potential as productive members of society, just like their U.S.-born peers.

A program created under the IN-STATE for DREAMers Act would provide $750 million in need-based student financial aid to states that set equitable in-state tuition rates or offer state financial aid to the estimated 65,000 DREAMers who graduate from American high schools each year.

“All students deserve the opportunity to pursue higher education and reach for their dreams,” said LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke. “By providing all high school graduates- including DREAMers- with support to pursue additional education, we are helping more of our nation’s young people to substantively contribute to the future of our country.”

Started by Lutheran congregations in 1939, LIRS walks with migrants and refugees through ministries of service and justice, transforming U.S. communities by ensuring that newcomers are not only self-sufficient but also become connected and contributing members of their adopted communities in the United States. Working with and through over 60 partners across the country, LIRS resettles refugees, reunites children with their families or provides loving homes for them, conducts policy advocacy, and pursues humanitarian alternatives to the immigration detention system. For more information, please visit www.lirs.org.

If you have any questions about this statement, please feel free to contact Brittney Nystrom, LIRS Director for Advocacy at (202) 626-7943 or via email at bnystrom@lirs.org.