SC Dreamers Act 2018 General Bill
Day Dreaming: SC Dreamers Act 2018 General Bill
Day Dreaming: SC Dreamers Act 2018 General Bill - Edited 01/05/2018
By: Eric Esquivel
Spanish version available at Soñar Despiertos: Propuesta de Ley de Soñadores en Carolina del Sur 2018
The South Carolina General Assembly, 2017-2018, has a new bill to benefit DREAMers in the state. About 6,400 "DREAMers," live in South Carolina. According to official state data, approximately one-third of them are in middle school, high school, or college.
DREAMers are immigrants that arrived to United Unites as minors, and they were protected from deportation by a temporary federal program called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals); this program was revoked by president Trump in October 2017.
The SC Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children was created by statute for researching, identifying, and examining issues regarding the children of South Carolina. The Committee reports its recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly and offers suggestions for policy and legislation.
During Fall 2017, this Joint Legislative Committee received public input in the cities of Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Florence. This public input included testimony from approximately thirty DREAMers. The DREAMers also requested eligibility to receive in-state tuition, the ability to qualify for state scholarships, and the ability to receive state occupational licenses. Essentially, they asked to be allowed to pursue better lifestyles in SC and, at the same time, fully contribute to their local economies.
State Representative Neal A. Collins (R), from Pickens County, introduced a bill co-sponsored by Representative William W. Wheeler, III (D) from Kershaw, Lee & Sumter Counties to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, to enact the "South Carolina Dreamers Act of 2018". The Representative prefiled the bill on December 13th, 2017 with the South Carolina House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. If passed, the bill would provide the following rights and benefits to people who have a lawful presence in this state, are DACA recipients, and are not barred from establishing residency under federal immigration law:
1. In-state tuitions rates and fees at public institutions of higher education and technical schools for DREAMers;
2. Eligibility for occupational or professional licensure under the provisions of this law for DREAMers, provided other licensure requirements are met.
3. Eligible for state-supported scholarships and grants for DREAMers, when eligibility requirements are met. (Hope, LIFE and Palmetto Fellow)
SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center will organize an advocacy day, Lobby Day, in favor of the SC Dreamers Act 2018 in February 2018. Participants from all over the state will meet their state legislators to explain the DREAMers issue and to explain the positive impact this type of legislation would bring to local economies and to the state as a whole. SC Appleseed is a non-profit organization focused on influencing policy-makers to ensure the law is fair; SC Appleseed is also committed to educating the public about the law.
SC Appleseed, together with the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, and La Isla Magazine invites all DREAMers and all people who care about their legal situation to stand up and start talking with your state legislators. This bill is still in its infancy and needs support in the SC Senate in order to give it a chance to pass in the coming legislative year.
Regardless of what happens at the state and federal level, legislation-wise, South Carolina will have legal-status DREAMers in this state until March 2020. Also, Christine Burke, Immigrant Policy Community Organizer at SC Appleseed Center says that it is vital to urge state lawmakers to press their counterparts at the federal level to act on the National DREAMers Act sponsored by Lindsey Graham (R), a United States Senator from SC.
1.Find your state legislators here: https://goo.gl/64EaLa to let them know the importance of the DREAMers issue in your local community.
2. Try to meet your legislators in person when they are in your hometown. Prepare some talking points to make the most of your time with them and to tell your personal history.
3. Call SC Appleseed Justice Center for more information (803) 779-1113.
Call to Action
To All DREAMers: The power of personal stories is crucial to make this legislation become a reality. Talk to your friends and neighbors, coworkers and employers about your situation; ask them for their support and to contact their legislators about passing this bill. You have a lot to win, and a lot to lose if the bill doesn’t become a law. It is time to speak up for yourself!