Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

Benjie Sanders/Arizona Daily Sta

President Obama wasn't the only politician passing resolutions over the status of illegal immigrants this week.

While politicians battle over the DREAM Act in Washington, D.C., Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says students across the country are suffering.

So he is joining other mayors from around the nation in petitioning the federal government to temporarily allow illegal-immigrant students to qualify for in-state tuition and other benefits until the act is passed.

Rothschild, along with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, recently co-sponsored a resolution calling for the Department of Homeland Security to create a program which allows "DREAM Act eligible youth to apply for provisional status on a case-by-case basis, thus allowing immigrant youth to pursue their dreams."

The resolution, signed by about 20 other mayors, was submitted to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is holding its annual meeting this week in Orlando, Fla. A vote is expected today.

"Living in the Tucson and Southern Arizona, I've had the personal experience of seeing young people go through our school system … and kids have been valedictorians or got all A's and worked really hard and were admitted to colleges," said Rothschild, who will not be in Orlando.

"But they were slowed down or stymied in their progress in getting an education" because their parents brought them to the United States when they were young and they lack citizenship, therefore they do not qualify for federal student loans or in-state tuition.

These individuals, who work diligently and succeed in school, Rothschild said, are the types of people this country needs.

"They have already proved themselves to be productive young members of our society," he said. "They are the exact people that we want to encourage to get further education. So I think it's real important we give deserving young people a chance" to advance.

The DREAM Act would allow undocumented students, who met some basic requirements, to be granted a six-year grace period to obtain a degree or serve in the military. If they meet all of the prescribed goals, they could apply for permanent status.

In Arizona, about 167,000 students would qualify, according to a 2010 study by the Migration Policy Institute.

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Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at or 573-4243.