Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring advised Virginia colleges and universities Tuesday that illegal immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program qualify for instate tuition, as long as they meet Virginia’s domicile requirements.
“I have concluded that no provision of state or federal law precludes individuals approved under DACA from forming subjective domiciliary intent to remain in Virginia; they are capable of establishing domicile and qualifying for in-state tuition,” Herring wrote in a letter to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the presidents of Virginia’s colleges and universities, and the chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.
In a statement, Herring argued that the policy is a tool to remain competitive in the global economy, and that it is appropriate for the so-called DREAMers, who he said are “already Virginians in some very important ways.”
“Instead of punishing and placing limits on these smart, talented, hard-working young people, Virginia should extend them an opportunity for an affordable education,” he said. “It’s what the law requires, it makes economic sense for Virginia, and it’s the right thing to do.”
According to Herring’s office, as of December 2013 some 8,100 people in Virginia had qualified for DACA status. It noted that in order to qualify for in-state tuition, the students much first be accepted to a Virginia college and prove they meet the domicile requirements.