Political Insider

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Abrams and Kemp tangle over HOPE awards for ‘Dreamers’

Abrams: ‘Dreamers are part of our community and I want them to be lifted up.’


 

Democrat Stacey Abrams on Wednesday reinforced her position that “dream kids” -- children whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally -- should be eligible for HOPE scholarships. 

At an education press conference, she said her policy would live up to the “legal obligation” under the state constitution to provide an education for every child. 

“My point is simply this: I want to follow the lead of Texas and other states that have said if you graduate from our high schools, if you’re part of our community, you should continue to get education and continue to be a productive citizen.”

Her opponent, Brian Kemp, said he wouldn’t “reward illegal behavior with handouts, perks and scholarships” and warned that expanding the program could bankrupt the lottery-funded program. 

Abrams said that’s fooey. 

“We’re not talking about a number of students who will bankrupt the system. We’re talking about students who will invest in our state. My position is this: Dreamers are part of our community and I want them to be lifted up.”

The state Board of Regents adopted policies in 2010 that block immigrants without legal status from attending the University of Georgia and other top schools, and bar them from paying in-state tuition rates at the rest of its colleges. 

At a town hall meeting in Dalton, Abrams indicated she would support reversing those rules to extend beyond “dream kids.” 

Said Abrams: 

“I believe that when you graduate from a Georgia high school, not only should you be allowed to go to any college and that includes the two that are currently off limits- the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech - but that you should qualify for the HOPE scholarship if you earn the grades, you’ve earned the right to the HOPE scholarship.” 

Insider’s note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt.


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.