Washington Legislature Sends ‘Real Hope’ Act To Governor

Feb 19, 2014

A late vote in the Washington legislature has the children of immigrants cheering - literally. The state House Tuesday night overwhelmingly gave final approval to a measure to allow high school graduates who came to this country illegally with their parents to apply for state financial aid.

Republican State Senator Barbara Bailey celebrates with students following final passage of the “Real Hope Act."
Credit Austin Jenkins

This was the scene in the rotunda of the Washington capitol after the vote.

Students in t-shirts that read “OneAmerica” cheered the sponsors of the legislation. One – 15-year old Salma Silva - offered a tearful thanks

"Thanks to all of you guys our dream really came true.” Said Silva

Republican State Senator Barbara Bailey – the prime sponsor of what she calls the ‘Real Hope Act’ – gently scolded the teen.

“You quit crying. This is a happy day, not a sad day." Said Bailey

Democratic State Representative Zack Hudgins response was to borrow a line from Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

“Ok, now you all got to go be doctors and lawyers and such.” Said Hudgins

The measure will allow undocumented students to receive Washington Need Grants to attend college. But there’s no guarantee all qualified students will receive tuition help. Competition for the limited funds is fierce. Washington Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign into law the high profile legislation.

Washington would become the fourth state to offer taxpayer funded financial aid to undocumented students – including California.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News