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Local Youth Push for Immigration Change

Posted at: 04/02/2013 7:18 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A busload of youth from our area took a trip to the Capitol. They were lobbying for immigration reform, known as the Minnesota Dream Act.

Pouring out of elevators and filing into the offices of local representatives, students from Southeastern Minnesota, lobbying for the Prosperity Act. 

Marco Loera from Rochester, was one of them.

"I see youth, every single day, um and I see their faces and it's disappointment after they can't go to college because basically paying for college is basically impossible. So they have to go to community college, which is great, but after two years what do they do after that? They're stuck,” said Loera.

The bill would allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition at state universities and colleges if they had attended school in the state for three or more years, graduated, and either field or were working to file legal status.

"We don't need to punish children for the acts of their parents. If they've been here, they've been good students. If they've produced scores high enough for them to get accepted into college so they should be able to pay the same tuition that my children pay,” said Representative Kim Norton of Rochester.

But not all lawmakers feel the same. Representative Jean Poppe says it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with on a federal level.

"If you're not legalized citizens, that's what I'm saying. It's very harsh. I mean I feel very heartless right now to be saying that, but that's kind of the reality right now and that's why a lot of things need to happen,” said Poppe.

But for Marco and his friends, they want changes to come in the state, and soon.

"If I could know that Minnesota supports every new person in the community. I think that's something everyone wants to feel,” said Loera.

There is a House and Senate version of the bill. The House is expected to hold a hearing on Wednesday.