One of C4D's main goals is to advocate for legislation and policies that benefit
immigrant youth and their families. C4D has had various legislative and administrative advocacy campaigns over the last several years. But regardless of the final policy goal, our ultimate goal is always to use our policy and advocacy campaigns as an organizing tool to organize and mobilize our members, to grow the leadership and skills of our youth, and to put the people affected by the issue at the forefront of fighting for the issue.
Since our founding one of our biggest advocacy goals has been to increase access to higher education for all students regardless of their immigration status, as such, much of our policy work has focused on removing the institutional barriers that keep undocumented students from having equal access to higher education
One of C4D’s biggest advocacy accomplishments was the in-state tuition victory of 2011, CT Students for a DREAM was part of a coalition that worked to pass the bill which granted access to in-state tuition rates for undocumented youth who meet the requirements. C4D members fought, lobbied, and shared our stories with legislators- for the first time the personal stories and voices of CT’s undocumented students were heard by our legislators.
We recognized that in-state tuition, although a great victory, was not enough and more needed to be done. So in 2012 C4D began our advocacy campaign to open up access to financial aid for undocumented students in CT, a campaign which has gone through several adaptations, which we have come to call #afffordtodream.
To help accomplish our policy work, C4D has developed a partnership with the WIRAC Clinic of Yale Law School. In 2013 we worked with WIRAC to draft and introduce legislation expanding access to financial aid for undocumented students. Although the bill did not make it out of the higher education committee, we view it as a victory as we were able to introduce our own legislation for the first time through meetings, lobby visits, and sharing our stories with state legislators.
Seeking alternative avenues to make our advocacy goals a reality, in 2014 we pursued an administrative route and targeted the Board of Regents and the Office of Higher Education through a formal Rule Making Petition again in partnership with WIRAC. As part of this work our youth organized rallies and direct actions targeting the BOR and
Governor Malloy. Although the Rulemaking Petition was unsuccessful in getting the policy change we wanted, our members succeed in getting an
in-person meeting with Governor Malloy and making our issue a priority for the Malloy administration.
In 2015 we went back to the legislature and again introduced legislation to open up access to financial aid for undocumented students. We succeeded in working with Governor Malloy and State Senate Majority leader Looney to introduce 2 separate pieces of legislation helping undocumented students with higher education.
Currently SB 398, a bill that would have opened up institutional financial aid for some immigrant and undocumented students at CT state colleges and universities passed the senate with a vote of 24-12 but was never called up for a vote in the house. HB:6844; a bill that expands the number of undocumented students to qualify for in state tuition by reducing he number of years that an undocumented student needs to attend a Connecticut high school from four years to two years; passed in the senate and the house and will now go on to the Governor who has already pledged to sign. We will continue to fight for SB 398 and push access to higher education for all students.