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Herring Says Undocumented Children Can Get In-State Tuition

Mark Herring has weighed in on two controversial social issues in just four months on the job.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Mark Herring has weighed in on two controversial social issues in just four months on the job.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that children brought to the United States by undocumented parents can qualify for in-state tuition under existing state law.

Herring's declaration, made at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria campus, comes on the heels of the General Assembly session where lawmakers rejected the so called Dream Act, the law that would offer children brought here by undocumented immigrants the same benefits as other Virginia residents.

In the past, the attorney general's office had advised that students who entered the country illegally were barred from receiving in-state tuition, even if they were children when they immigrated.

The announcement is the second time in recent months that Herring has weighed in on controversial social issues. Shortly after taking office in January, Herring said that the commonwealth's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that he would not defend it in court.

Virginia Republican leaders were quick to blast Herring's announcement.

“We are deeply concerned by the Attorney General’s actions today and what appears to be a continued willingness to ignore and circumvent the duly-adopted laws of the Commonwealth. For the second time since taking office just a few short months ago, Mark Herring has demonstrated blatant disregard for his oath of office, his responsibilities as Attorney General of Virginia, and most importantly, the rule of law," said party leaders in a statement.

Maryland voters approved the Dream Act through a 2012 referendum.

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