Gov. Hobbs Taking on New Fight on Behalf of Dreamers: Will She Have the Political Capital?

Arizona’s Dreamers (that is, undocumented students brought here through no fault of their own) got a very big win last year when Prop 308 protected their ability to receive in-state tuition pricing if they otherwise qualified after being approved via the public. They might have another big win in their sights soon too, but that will be highly dependent on if Governor Katie Hobbs will have the political capital to do so, which is already a very big If.

In what is clearly the next big additional push after Prop 308’s passing, Governor Hobbs announced in her State of the State address that she intends to push for $40 million for a Dreamers Scholarship Program. However, in what is lining up to already be a contentious relationship with the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate, the initial budget drafts did not include this request, and as such she vetoed them.

The story references student frustration at not being able to apply for scholarships due to their legal status, something that should go into the “unfair” bucket that helped buoy Prop 308. Resolving that bottleneck, whatever it might be, seems like it would be a much easier near term win as opposed to a special scholarship fund, but either way, via fixing loopholes or ringfencing scholarship funds, it is certainly the right thing to do.

After all, there are decades of wrongs that have yet to be righted. Decades of the area’s best and brightest were held back as a result of unfairness. Decades of talent stunted because of aged policies and inefficiency at the federal government level. Regardless of how it is done, this is something that needed to be rectified decades ago, but the 2nd best time to fix it would be today.

Governor Katie Hobbs will have one heck of a difficult balance to walk in order to be effective at her job. She could simply exert power and use her veto pen every possible time in order to frustrate Republicans, but they will undoubtedly fire back. She now needs to be up to the test of governing. We (and thousands of Dreamers) are grateful that she has chosen this subject to utilize political capital on, and truly hope she has enough to see it through to the end.