14 March 2023
Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who move to Nevada would qualify for in-state college tuition after 12 months of living in the state if lawmakers pass AB226, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Reuben D’Silva (D-Las Vegas).
The assemblyman, a high school teacher, was born in Mumbai, India, and moved to the U.S. with his family in the 1980s. D’Silva said in a tweet and video message that Nevada law does not allow DACA recipients moving from out of state to be eligible for in-state tuition, even after living in the state for at least a year. DACA recipients who graduate from a Nevada high school do qualify for in-state tuition.
D’Silva argues that many DACA recipients are no longer children — they’re adults who may move to Nevada looking for a job opportunity or to further their education, and should be eligible for in-state tuition after living in the state for 12 months just “like everybody else.”
As of September 2022, there are about 590,000 active DACA recipients in the country, with about 11,460 living in Nevada, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“These are folks who are in their 30s … who are moving around the country and who want to go back to school, get a college degree or get a graduate degree,” D’Silva said in the video. “And it’s very difficult for many of them to access a college education because they do not qualify for in-state tuition, which is a significant cost savings.”
A recent analysis by FWD.us, a pro-immigration lobbying group, shows that the average age of DACA recipients is 28 and that 99 percent of DACA recipients in Nevada have a high school diploma. The FWD.us analysis also shows that 89 percent of Nevada DACA recipients are in the labor force and 35 percent have some college education.
A date has not been set for the bill to be heard in the Assembly Education Committee, but officials with the Nevada System of Higher Education wrote in a fiscal note that the cost of implementing the bill cannot be estimated because it’s unknown how many students would use the program.
Editor’s Note: This story appears in Behind the Bar, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2023 legislative session. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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