Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Dream Act, known in Washington as the REAL Hope Act, into law, as students and legislators crowded the room on Wednesday.
To his right was Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor), who sponsored the bill and got it passed in the Majority Coalition controlled Senate, and to his left was former Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, the first Latina elected to the House of Representatives who left the Legislature in 2012.
“Today we’re allowing dreams to come true with the passage of the Dream Act,” Inslee said.
The Dream Act, as it has been called, would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state need grants to help pay for college. The House passed its version of the Dream Act on opening day.
The Senate passed SB 6523, another version of the Dream Act, renaming it the REAL Hope Act, and adding $5 million to the state need grant. REAL stands for “Realizing Educational Access; changing Lives.”
The room was filled with students from all over the state, who had lobbied with the Latino/Latina Educational Achievement Project and One America, to encourage the passage of the bill.
“The young people who are here today are the ones who ultimately made this happen,” Inslee said.
“Looking into their eyes, so full of ambition and eagerness and energy, I thought, ‘How can we possibly say no to these young people? ‘ ” he said.
Bailey held second celebration of the law with students from Mount Vernon, which is in her district. Students from her district visited the Legislature multiple times to convince lawmakers to pass the act.
“I’m proud that we have been able to find a solution to this issue. These students were raised in our state, have gone through our K-12 schools and now have chance to afford college in our state,” she said in a released statement.