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Majority of state lawmakers vote to allow voters to answer in-state tuition question

Joel John breaks ranks with Republicans to vote for ballot measure - News 11's Crystal Jimenez reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona state representatives are weighing in after the legislature approved giving voters the opportunity to decide if those who were brought illegally to the United States as children should qualify for in-state tuition.

The final vote Monday was 33-27 with four Republicans joining the chamber's 29 minority Democrats to approve the referral.

Related Article: In-state tuition for immigrants to be on 2022 ballot measure

One of those Republicans was Representative Joel John (R-4).

Rep. John tells News 11, “They’re the victims in all this and most of them have lived here for many years. Attended our schools have graduated our high school so I think it’s perfectly reasonable to allow them to pay in state tuition. And that’s going to help the economy overall. Having more people who have an educated workforce. And I look at this as an investment.”

Representative Charlene Fernandez (D-4) applauded the passing of the bill as well. She says when the November 2022 Election comes around she hopes voters will vote in favor of the measure.

“We need more engineers, we need more doctors, we need more architects we need more nurses by golly we need more teachers. And these are the kids that will fill that void.” Rep. Fernandez says.

Representative Tim Dunn (R-13) says he believes the measure should have only been specifically for children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. He says he voted against the bill in hopes it can be revised to reflect that.

“It’s life changing for those students who will qualify. But I think we should have narrowed the focus to the DACA students which most people agree. That you come out and register with the federal government you say I’m here I want to make sure I stay legally give us this DACA status. That’s what I was shooting for.” says Rep. Dunn.

A report from the Migration Policy Institute shows 2,000 undocumented and DACA students graduate from Arizona high schools each year.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez began at KYMA as a Digital Content Producer in June 2019, and is now a multimedia journalist.

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