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Second Part of California DREAM Act Moves Toward Final Passage

by Mahwish Khan on 09/01/2011 at 1:59pm

California Dream ActWe’re seeing more progress in California as the legislature moves towards passage of the second part of that state’s DREAM Act. This latest legislation, AB 130, would give DREAMers access to publicly funded financial aid. In late July, Governor Brown signed the companion legislation that let DREAMers apply for private financial aid. Kudos to the California Dream Team Alliance and so many others who are making this happen.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The college dreams of thousands of students who are illegal immigrants moved closer to fulfillment Wednesday after the state Senate approved a bill that for the first time would give them access to public financial aid.

Part of a two-bill package known as the California Dream Act, the measure would allow undocumented students who qualify for reduced in-state tuition to apply for Cal Grants, community college waivers and other public aid programs. To be eligible, they must be California high school graduates who attended schools in the state at least three years, and demonstrate financial need and academic merit.

The bill’s future looks good, both in the Assembly and with Governor Brown, as indicated by the New York Times:

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said during his campaign last fall that he would support such a law and signed legislation this summer that gave illegal immigrants access to privately financed state scholarships and other aid. While he has not publicly said that he would sign this second measure, Mr. Brown’s staff members have been working with legislators to amend the bill in order to trim some costs.

The Democratic-controlled Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill on Wednesday along a party-line vote. The amended bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled State Assembly in the next week.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, the lead author of the bill, has persistently made an economic argument to convince his colleagues.

“We will soon have to replace one million workers who leave the work force,” Mr. Cedillo said. “Why would we cut ourselves off from students who have demonstrated since they got here that they have tremendous talent and resilience? This is a very smart decision for the state. It’s not necessarily popular or without controversy, but we have to get these students fully educated.”

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