Yael Balbuena, a 17-year-old high school senior wearing a bow tie and a blazer, wasn’t sure how the Arizona state senator who stood in front of him would react when he began recounting his life story and his preparation for college.
“I’m a ‘Dreamer,’” Balbuena said. “It is just really hard to go through this because I’ve done all the things I’m required to.”
And yet, he told the lawmaker, he couldn’t afford to go to his top choice school: Arizona State University, because his immigration status makes him ineligible for in-state tuition and financial aid. Instead, he explained, he will likely go to an out-of-state, private school that offers him a scholarship.