‘Yes’ vote on Proposition 308 holds narrow lead heading into weekend
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Proposition 308 relates to providing in-state tuition for students that graduated from and attended an Arizona high school for at least two years. After Friday’s ballot update, 51 percent of Arizonans voted for Proposition 308 compared to 49 percent against it, with the difference being slightly over 60,000 votes.
Those in favor say it gives thousands of Arizona teenagers more of an opportunity to make a difference. Those against it say it’s prioritizing those that aren’t here legally. “This would be transformational for our state,” said advocacy group Aliento Founder and CEO Reyna Montoya.
As a Dreamer who had to figure out how to afford undergrad at ASU, Montoya gets excited thinking about more opportunities and resources for current undocumented Arizona high schoolers. “Those 2,000 students that graduate each year will have a pathway to education,” she said. “And then on the other side now as an adult and as a resident of Arizona, seeing how this can be really thriving for the economy. It makes me really excited for me to know that.”
Montoya believes the majority of Arizonans share her excitement. But she says people were confused with ten different propositions on the ballot. “I was at the polls, and I’d be asking voters if they were going into the line or dropping off their ballots if they had heard about 308,” she said. “And a lot of them didn’t know, but once they heard about it, they supported it.”
But Tim Rafferty, of the patriotic organization RidersUSA which is against Prop. 308, doesn’t agree that undocumented Arizonans should get in-state benefits while out-of-state citizens have to pay more. “This is against the law, these people are in our country illegally and they need to take care of their status,” he said. “That’s their responsibility. It’s not your responsibility or my responsibility.”
Rafferty believes current legislation, which requires Dreamers to pay 150% of in-state tuition at Arizona public colleges and universities, combined with scholarships available to these students, is enough.
Republican Representative Debbie Lesko (R-District 8) says that often, this combination ends up making costs for Dreamers close to or below the cost of in-state tuition. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how much is going to change for the DACA students,” she said. “Because right now they’re getting help from private funds within the universities.”
But Montoya says more than any lower costs, passing Prop. 308 is about sending a message that Dreamers are welcome in our state. “I hope that in Arizona we’re ready to turn the page in having so much divisiveness,” she said. “We’re looking at policies that could help our state and benefit our people.”
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