The Real Hope Act signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday allows undocumented immigrants the chance to do something they have only dreamed of, attend college.
YAKIMA, WA - The Real Hope Act signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday allows undocumented immigrants the chance to do something they have only dreamed of, attend college.
Many undocumented students in the Yakima Valley say they are now able to achieve their dreams, and being able to apply for help going to college has changed their lives.
Imagine being told that your dream can never become a reality. Even if that dream is just to get a college education.
Jonathan came to America with his family when he was nine-years-old. His parents work on local farms and make less than $25,000 a year. Without public funding, Jonathan would never be able to afford college.
"For me all the schools are great," Jonathan Cortez said. "If I had the money to go to school I would."
On Wednesday, the governor signed the Washington State Real Hope Act into law allowing undocumented immigrants the chance to apply for need based grant money from the state.
"This act, like it says in the title," Jonathan said, "has given me hope. Hope to accomplish my dreams."
It doesn't just help students get into college. Public aid can help Kimberly, who works 40 hours a week pay for Yakima Valley Community College, get the chance to attend her dream school.
"I always wanted to go to Eastern," Kimberly Aleman said. "It's always been my dream and I got accepted."
But she couldn't attend because of the cost. Kimberly was so passionate about the topic, she went to Olympia and Washington D.C. with lobby groups to help campaign.
"It was just an amazing feeling being there and fighting for something I really want," Kimberly said.
Now these Washington students and thousands more have a chance to achieve these dreams:
"(I want to) get into pre-law and hopefully get into law school which is the biggest dream that I've had," Kimberly said.
"I want to study business administration with the objective of getting the necessary skills to open a non profit youth organization," Jonathan said.
"I'll get there someday," Kimberly said.
The Real Hope Act is controversial for some since it allows undocumented immigrants the chance to get public education funding. It's been debated in Congress for years but has never passed both houses.