Putting Education Reform To The Test

The Argument For Giving Illegal Immigrants Lottery Scholarships

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News

A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the DREAM Act

StateImpact Florida’s Monday story about the effect of new Bright Futures scholarship requirements on illegal immigrants or the children of illegal immigrants prompted a number of comments from readers asking why those students should get the lottery-funded scholarships — or any public benefits — at the expense of another student.

The story also spurred Juan, a 22-year-old illegal immigrant who lives in Broward County and will graduate college this fall, to contact us about the story because he too has received a Bright Futures scholarship. Juan said he was the only illegal immigrant he knew of receiving Bright Futures. He recorded an interview earlier today.

Juan’s family came from Venezuela on a visa, but missed a deadline for paperwork and lost their claim for citizenship. His case illustrates the complexities of immigration law, because at one point Juan was “living a normal life” with a driver’s license and other documents before losing those privileges.

Juan is also an advocate for DREAM Act legislation, which would make it easier for children who came to the U.S. illegally to earn citizenship and attend college. Juan argues the public has already paid to provide K-12 education to these students, so why risk losing the investment if they can not attend college or are deported?

What’s your response to the interview? How should the state deal with these students? Any concerns about losing the investment Florida has made to educate these students?


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