Dream Act closer to reality for Washington illegal immigrants

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 5:17 PM

Gamito has a 3.7 GPA, volunteers in a local elementary school and hopes to attend the University of Washington this fall after graduating from high school, fulfilling the aspirations of his proud parents. 
 
“They made it through 4th, 5th grade,” he said in between classes. “That's the highest their education went when they were in Mexico. They wanted something different for my sister and me.”
 
Gamito's dad is here illegally. He works construction jobs to support the extended family of seven living under his roof. No matter how hard he worked, however, there would likely never be enough money to get Gamito through UW, and because of his dad's immigration status, Gamito can't get financial aid. 
 
“I mean, it's just holding back more future doctors and lawyers, politicians,” said the 17-year-old. “It isn’t right. We just want to contribute.”
 
On Wednesday, the state House passed a bill that would open up about $3.5 million in state financial aid to all students regardless of whether they're legal citizens. Still, despite over whelming bi-partisan support, a good portion of the posts on KING 5’s Facebook page have a problem with the bill's “current status."  
 
One comment reads: "If I break into your house and you don't know I'm there, does that give me the right to eat all your food?" Another accuses the state of ripping off taxpayers by giving tax money to people here illegally. Others point to the 32,000 legal families in Washington who can't get financial aid for their kids to go to college.
 
As for Gamito, if the bill doesn't become law, he'll try to find a job and save as much money as he can for college. It would be a dream deferred, but one he will not let slip away. 
 
“I'm just gonna keep on going. I'm not gonna stop with my education,” he said.
 

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