California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law on Monday easing access to privately funded financial aid for undocumented college students.
AB 130, also known as the California DREAM Act, is the first of a series of two bills. It grants those who currently qualify for in-state tuition further eligibility for private scholarships funded by nonstate sponsors.
First Half Of California DREAM Act
Brown also signaled that he was likely to back AB 131, a more controversial measure allowing undocumented students to seek state-funded tuition aid in the future. It is currently being held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Important Step For Students Brought To The U.S. Through No Choice Of Their Own
From The Los Angeles Times:
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), author of the private financial aid measure, described it as an important but incremental step toward expanding opportunities for deserving students who were brought to the U.S. illegally through no choice of their own.
“I’m committed to expanding opportunity wherever I can find it, and certainly these kinds of bills promote a goal of a more inclusive California and a more educated California,” Brown told reporters after the bill-signing ceremony Monday.
For Brown, signing Cedillo’s bill was a gesture of goodwill toward Latino voters, who helped elect him in large numbers last fall. Legislation providing education funding to undocumented students has been a top priority for many Latino groups, which have found many of their efforts thwarted so far at the federal level. Last year proponents failed to marshal enough votes in the U.S. Senate to ensure passage of the federal DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. before age 16 if they attended a college or served in the military.
California Dream Act Is Not A Pathway To Citizenship
AB 130, unlike the federal DREAM Act, does not create a pathway for undocumented college students to become U.S. citizens.
Brown’s position on the California DREAM Act was being closely monitored after he angered some prominent Latino leaders by vetoing a bill last month that would have made it easier for farmworkers to organize.
California joins several other states that offer tuition breaks to illegal immigrants, including New York, New Mexico, Texas and Maryland.
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