Anne Michaud Portrait of Newsday editorial board member Anne Michaud

Anne Michaud is the interactive editor for Newsday Opinion.

State after state is advancing the fortunes of so-called Dreamers. But not New York. Lagging behind is the Empire State, dragging its battered reputation as a progressive leader.

Earlier this week, Virginia's attorney general, Mark R. Herring, told state colleges and universities that they should begin offering in-state rates to students who were brought to the United States illegally and raised here -- aka Dreamers.

"These 'Dreamers' are already Virginians in some very important ways," Herring said in a statement.

Two days later, the Florida State Legislature voted to require in-state tuition for Dreamers, joining 18 other states.

The office of New York's Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman pointed out that Dreamers here already had a better deal than in Virginia or Florida: They're eligible for in-state tuition. What New York's Dream Act would do is qualify undocumented students for some student loans and set up a private scholarship program called the Dream Fund.

But the legislation stalled last month in the New York State Senate.

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Senators need to soften their hearts. Dreamers are kids who were brought to this country when they were too young to have a say in the matter. How are they going to lift themselves up -- the great promise of America -- if the hurdles to attending college are so much higher? This isn't a giveaway; these kids have worked hard for good grades to gain admission to SUNY.

They are our New Yorkers in some very important ways.