Texas law can­not change sta­tus

Poli­tifact

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - B Con­tact Su­san Owen at 445-3882.

Though some­times called the “Texas Dream Act,” the law is much nar­rower in scope than the na­tional Dream Act pro­posed in var­i­ous forms since 2001.

The fed­eral Devel­op­ment, Re­lief and Ed­u­ca­tion for Alien Mi­nors Act also would per­tain to cer­tain chil­dren brought to the United States il­le­gally by par­ents or rel­a­tives.

But the na­tional leg­is­la­tion would cre­ate a new way to give those im­mi­grants le­gal sta­tus and avoid de­por­ta­tion, if they have stayed out of trou­ble and were in school or the mil­i­tary.

State law does not (and can­not) change im­mi­grants’ le­gal sta­tus. Texas’ law only re­quires that the stu­dents sign an af­fi­davit say­ing they in­tend to ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency as soon as they’re able to do so.

Twelve other states have tuition laws like Texas’, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Con­fer­ence of State Leg­is­la­tures web­site. And that web­site con­firms that Texas was the first state to pass one, fol­lowed four months later by Cal­i­for­nia.

Was this Texas law a “Dream Act,” even though it could not change stu­dents’ le­gal sta­tus?

Gov. Rick Perry spoke of the “Texas dream” in a speech soon af­ter he signed the law, telling the South­west Vot­ers Reg­is­tra­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Project that he ap­proved it “so that young Tex­ans who grad­u­ated from our pub­lic schools, re­gard­less of their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, will be able to pay in-state tuition and take part in the Texas dream. We want bright, new Tex­ans to stay here and con­trib­ute great things to our fu­ture.”

A Nov. 15, 2011, Amer­i­can-States­man news story said the Texas law is “com­monly re­ferred to as the Texas Dream Act.” We found sim­i­lar ref­er­ences in news sto­ries go­ing back to 2004.

In Cal­i­for­nia and New York, news sto­ries from 2007 through 2011 re­served the “Dream Act: term for leg­is­la­tion go­ing fur­ther than the tuition laws al­ready on those states’ books — grant­ing el­i­gi­bil­ity for fi­nan­cial aid or driver’s li­censes, for ex­am­ple.

Hernán­dez agreed the Texas law isn’t equiv­a­lent to the na­tional leg­is­la­tion.

When he was help­ing ad­vo­cate the state law, he told us, “we didn’t call it the Dream Act.”

But there is com­mon ground, he said. “We’re talk­ing about the same kids, and we’re talk­ing about find­ing ways to live a life in this na­tion,” he said. “I think that’s why many of us say it’s a type of Dream Act.”

Our rul­ing: Texas was the first state to per­mit in-state tuition for cer­tain chil­dren in the coun­try il­le­gally.

But like other states’ laws, its mea­sure did not — could not — go as far as fed­eral ver­sions of­fer­ing a pos­si­ble path to cit­i­zen­ship and should not be con­fused with the fed­eral Dream Act.

We rate the claim Mostly True.

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