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statement

Asian American Advocates in Virginia React to State Budget Amendment 8 Vote

By 18 June 2022September 28th, 2022No Comments
Erestine Locsin testifying at the 2020 Virginia General Assembly

Annandale, VA ― Hamkae Center is extremely disappointed at the passage of budget amendment 8 by the General Assembly this evening. Amendment 8 strikes language appropriating $5 million each year to Virginia colleges and universities for state financial aid for immigrant students newly eligible for in-state tuition under the tuition equity policy. The amendment re-allocates that funding to increase financial aid at two of the five HBCUs (historically-Black colleges & universities) in Virginia.

“First we want to reassure immigrant students that the tuition equity policies that they fought for and won are still the law in Virginia. This means newly eligible immigrant students can still apply for in-state tuition and state financial aid,” stated Sookyung Oh, Director of Hamkae Center. “While the amendment did not alter the underlying statute, the Commonwealth did take a step backwards for immigrant communities sadly two days after the 10th anniversary of DACA. Shame on the Governor for weaponizing state financial aid as a cheap political ploy to divide communities of color. If education was important to this Governor, as he claimed throughout his campaign, he could have easily allocated funding to ensure that every young Virginian who wants to pursue higher education in the Commonwealth has the resources to do so.”

We commend the legislators who saw through this anti-immigrant move and spoke up on the House and Senate floor, such as Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate Lamont Bagby, Senator Jennifer Boysko, Senator Mamie Locke, Senator Jennifer McClellan, and Senator Hashmi Ghazala. Hamkae Center will continue to organize Asian American communities with our partners to improve education equity.”

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Hamkae Center is a community-based organization with a mission to organize Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Through community organizing, civic engagement, youth leadership development, community services, and grassroots policy advocacy, Hamkae Center works alongside its community members to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and all marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.

We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York) and Woori Juntos (Texas).

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