Governor Patrick’s decision this week to allow certain illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates at state universities is an important step toward resolving ambiguities in the federal immigration rules. The state now makes clear that young undocumented immigrants who have been granted reprieves from deportation by the federal government can utilize their newly acquired work permits as proof of state residency.
The change is more than a technical clarification. The United States has succeeded as a nation of immigrants because it has, more often than not, made assimilation and integration a part of the American experience. Giving immigrants access to an affordable education, one that will help them become successful members of society, is an important part of that story.