A ballot measure in support of noncitizen residents receiving in-state tuition and financial aid will be presented to Arizona voters in the Nov. 8, 2022, election.
Sen. Paul Boyer (R-20) introduced the ballot measure known as the Senate Concurrent Resolution 1044 to the Arizona State Senate. In March, the ballot measure passed 17-13 in support of putting SCR 1044 on the ballot.
SCR 1044 may revoke Arizona Proposition 300, which prohibited noncitizens and people without legal residential status from receiving in-state tuition.
About 71% of voters approved Proposition 300 in the 2006 ballot.
In-state tuition rates more than doubled for DACA recipients and Dreamers. At ASU, the average in-state tuition is $11,338 and out-of-state tuition is $29,428.
Lidia Kimberly Parra, a nurse assistant from Glendale, is considered a “Dreamer,” as she is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects them from deportation.
“I’ve been here since I was 2 months old. I don’t know anything different. I don’t know anything other than Arizona,” Parra said.
Parra said that every two years she has to reapply for DACA, living in “constant anxiety” of whether she’ll be able to continue to work to provide for her child or be deported. For Parra, the reinstatement for DACA happened in May, four months after she applied.
“I was lucky enough to be in a position at work where they held my place in those four months of waiting,” Parra said. “And when I got my DACA back, they were like, ‘OK, you start at 6 a.m. tomorrow.’ I was blessed like that. But not everybody has it like that.”
Parra has “always wanted to go to school,” and the DACA program paved the way for her to attend school at Brookline College without fear of deportation. Paying most of her tuition from “out of pocket,” Parra graduated as a certified nursing assistant and works as a nursing assistant in post-op and recovery.
Parra added that Arizona Proposition 300 “puts people in a box” and “limits them” with financial barriers. The assistance that others receive to earn degrees should be “equal to everybody,” according to Parra.
“These are just basic needs that everyone should be entitled to regardless of what status we have going on,” Parra said.
Jose Patino is the director of education and external affairs in Aliento, which is a DACA and undocumented youth-led community organization based in Phoenix. Aliento was part of the community leaders and activists who pushed for SCR 1044 to be passed.
“In terms of in-state tuition, it’s been years of advocacy that groups like us, Aliento, have been doing at the Capitol. We’ve been working with lawmakers since 2018 to move the bill forward,” Patino said.
According to Patino, Aliento and the American Business Immigration Coalition led an Arizona campaign called Become Arizona with a bipartisan coalition of about 130 and more organizations that strongly supported the SCR 1044 bill.
A public letter signed by more than 130 organizations in Become Arizona requested the speaker of the House of Representatives, Russell Bowers, to bring SCR 1044 to the floor. The Arizona House of Representatives then passed the proposed ballot measure 33-27, ultimately leaving the ballot measure up to the people in the upcoming 2022 elections.
“A lot of it comes from student voices because as a lawmaker it’s a lot easier to say no to lobbyists or organizations but it’s harder to say no to what impacts students, and telling them, ‘Hey, I can’t support this and the reason why is because fundamentally, I don’t want you to get an education,’” Patino said.