A new Colorado state law will help immigrants who helped the United States military to afford to go to college. The law will help an estimated 300 students in its first year and will continue for years to come. The law will benefit immigrants who came to the United States through the “Special Immigrant Visa” (SIV) program and will also benefit refugees. This program includes staff members who worked for the United States military abroad, including translators and interpreters. For example there are many Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who worked for the United States army, at significant peril to themselves and to their families. The SIV program allows these immigrants to come to the United States on a visa and then become permanent residents (and eventually citizens once they qualify), after living in the United States as a permanent resident for at least five years.
In addition to giving in-state tuition to SIV participants as soon as they arrive in Colorado, the program will also benefit newly resettled refugees. Approximately 1,200 refugees are resettled in Colorado each year and this new law will also grant them in-state tuition immediately. The new law will make life a little easier for these two categories of immigrants. Education is so important to succeed in American society. This law is a step towards leveling the playing field for immigrants who often arrive in Colorado with very little, but who are very hard working. By reducing the amount that these students have to pay each year, Colorado has lowered one big hurdle that immigrants face in getting an education. The law goes into effect immediately and should be implemented by the time the fall semester begins at most colleges and universities across Colorado.
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