(The Center Square) – Legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition for public colleges and ID cards at the DMV narrowly passed both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly.
House Bill 2123, sponsored by Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington, would ensure residents, regardless of their citizenship status or immigration status, will have equal access to all educational benefits in the commonwealth. This includes in-state tuition and financial assistance programs provided by the state or the higher education institution.
The legislation has an effective date of August 1, 2022 and requires the State Council of Higher Education to promulgate regulations for the bill. It narrowly passed the Senate 20-18 this week after passing the House 58-42 earlier this month. It will now head to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk for his signature.
According to the fiscal impact statement, setting up these changes will cost the state less than $200,000 in this biennium. This includes costs to change software for determining eligibility and changing online applications, among other things. It predicts future costs to the state would be absorbed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
House Bill 2138, sponsored by Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Dale City, would allow some illegal immigrants to hold state ID cards. The bill would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022 if signed by the governor. Legislation that went into effect in January already allows illegal immigrants to hold driver’s licenses.
To be eligible, the person must show that they filed tax returns with the commonwealth in the last 12 months and their applications for legal status are pending. The bill passed the Senate 19-18 this week after passing the House 57-43 in late January.