Students Waiting for Gov. to Sign CA Dream Act

By EFE News Service

Immigrant-rights advocates and supporters of undocumented students were waiting this week for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign AB 131, the California Dream Act, after the California Assembly on Sept. 2 approved the law that would allow undocumented students to receive state grants to finance their college education.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Esperan que el Gobernador Brown Firmará Ley que Beneficiará a los Estudiantes Indocumentados

The Assembly approved the law on a vote of 45 to 27 in favor. The governor has 30 days to sign or veto the measure, and activists are hopeful Brown, a Democrat, will give it his signature.

“This bill, when signed by Gov. Brown, will represent a historic, giant step for education and for California’s prosperity,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

AB 131, which would take effect in 2013, and AB 130, which will be implemented next year, will offer financing options similar to those legal residents receive in California.

The new law, however, only allows undocumented students access to the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver and institutional grants funded by California’s public universities.

Undocumented students will only be eligible to receive Cal Grant scholarships after all eligible legal residents have been awarded grants.

“It is a bitter point, which leaves undocumented students receiving leftovers from Cal Grant scholarships,” said Jorge Medina, a student at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Granting financial aid to undocumented students has been highly criticized at a time when budget cuts affecting public institutions of higher education are at a crisis level.

“At a time when the University of California and California State Universities are being cut and have had to increase the cost of their degrees, it does not make sense to offer the little financial aid available to students who are here illegally,” said Lupe Moreno, an anti-illegal immigration activist.

Critics of the measure say income levels should instead be changed to allow more “middle-class” students to receive assistance.

“I do not think we’re taking away opportunities from others, because people who want the opportunity can take it,” argued Maria Delgado, a UCLA student seeking a double major in philosophy and art.

“If they want the same opportunities they would do the same thing as us, we are at the top of our class, we are leaders and outstanding students,” said Delgado.

If signed by the governor, the full California Dream Act provides undocumented students with more options for financing their education, which, following the passage of AB540, allows undocumented students to pay the same tuition as legal residents in the state if they attended a California high school for three or more years, graduated and are registered in a state-accredited college.

“This bill ensures that young people who are eager to study and excel in meeting their goals, get a degree and help contribute to the California economy,” said Justino Mora, an undocumented Mexican student double-majoring in political science and computer engineering at UCLA.

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September 8, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


4 Responses to “Students Waiting for Gov. to Sign CA Dream Act”

  1. Jason Cole on September 8th, 2011 12:48 pm

    The federal version is more important but this is a step for a brighter future.

  2. daniel on September 8th, 2011 2:42 pm

    I dont think it would be a good idea if governor brown just signed the second part of the dream act just to make the undocuments students or these students just to become citizens quickly they are a bunch of people out there that deserve a immigration reform and have more years than these students and nothing happening and i dont see any reason for the dream act to passed neither and right now they are alot of things to focus on than the dream act like the overgoing crisis in the state

  3. Don Honda on September 8th, 2011 2:43 pm

    Well, first of all, they are ILLEGAL ALIEN Students because AB 131 specifically refers to them as such in the title (DREAM Act-Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) and within the Bill’s content:

    I agree with the finally-expressed sentiment that the Middle-Class Students need relief as fees and tuition has increased very much over the past few years.

    Also, it is very dubious if free aid and monies given to ILLEGAL ALIEN students will result in any of their economic contribution as they cannot be employed legally. It would take a Federal DREAM Act to provide an avenue for “head of the line” citizen amnesty for them to accomplish this. This is a long time in coming, if ever.

    AB 131 is a travesty and disrespects our laws, our US Citizens, and LEGAL immigrants.

  4. Luke Morrison on September 9th, 2011 2:33 pm

    Don’t like that the Dream Act sanctions/­rewards/en­courages further illegal immigratio­n? Don’t like that it pushes legal citizens out of opportunit­y by allowing an indefinite number of ineligible people to compete for your students’ vital resources to go to college? Or that it gives money to illegal residents when there are so many legal citizens who need the money? Or that it wastes money on people that cannot even work here legally? Me neither. So I’m doing something about it. My name’s Luke Morrison and I’m in the initial stages of readying a petition initiative that would get a measure on the ballot where voters can take a stand for our students and against the outrageous Dream Act. It seeks to protect our finite public monies for legal resident students who need them. There are many of us whose dreams depend on such public funds being there for them, but will be less likely to get it thanks to legislatio­n like the Dream Act, which opens the floodgates for anyone and everyone from other countries to come in and claim these precious resources for themselves without going through the proper process of becoming a legal citizen. Join the movement of people giving a voice to those affected by the Dream Act. Stand up for us and our children. Do not let them pay the costs for the conscious decision of some to enter the country illegally.


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