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California Moves Forward with State DREAM Act

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dream actBy Mariano Cardoso:

In the latest news regarding undocumented immigrant students, the California Senate has moved forward with a state version of the DREAM Act.

Yesterday, state senators approved AB-130, by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles).  The bill would allow undocumented students to receive scholarships funded by private donations but not from taxpayer dollars.

Another piece of legislation, the more far-reaching AB-131, would allow undocumented immigrants to receive publicly funded financial aid, including Cal Grants.  However, due to disagreement over its potential cost to taxpayers, it has stalled in the Senate.

Nonetheless, some Democratic senators have stood by the bill, including state senator Ron Calderon (D-Montabello), who says that the state should not stand in the way of students who graduate from high school with grades good enough to get into college.

During a floor debate between the 26-11 party-line vote, Calderon said:

It’s about supporting those who work hard, play by the rules and want to improve their standard of living.  Their accomplishment should not be disregarded or their future jeopardized because of their legal status.

In support of the legislation, several dozen activists gathered at San Joaquin Delta College last night to urge state representatives to pass the measures.