On June 29th,Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed the 2009-2011 state budget, including a provision requiring state Universities to charge in-state tuition to “undocumented students who have lived in Wisconsin at least 3 years prior to graduating from high school or obtaining a GED”. Wisconsin is the 11th state to level the educational playing field, following in the footsteps of Texas, Oklahoma, New York, California, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, Illinois, New Mexico and Washington. This is also another step forward in the passage of the DREAM Act.
This is a historic victory for the youth of Wisconsin, including SUFRIR and SUITS – two youth organizing groups who were integral in the fight for in-state tuition. And while the celebration of victory was ocurring, advocates in Wisconsin also lamented the defeat of a measure in this year’s budget that would have created a drivers’ card for immigrants.
Christine Neumann-Oritz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera (a FIRM partner), said:
This is no doubt a historic day for civil rights in education, but the crisis in the immigrant community created by the loss of drivers licenses will not go away. It goes without saying that we along with our partners in the Coalition for Safe Roads will work to see that legislation is introduced this session for drivers cards.
Congratulations to all of the youth and activists who made this victory possible – especially to VDLF and SUFRIR. We are standing FIRM with you in your fight for immigrant rights and comprehensive reform.