Illinois became the second state in a week to pass Dream Act legislation, signaling a decidedly different approach to immigration reform coming from some states.
Under the Illinois Dream Act, the state will create a committee to establish private grants for undocumented students who attended at least three years of high school in Illinois and also received their diplomas. Gov. Pat Quinn framed the issue as one of access and the fundamental idea that self-empowerment and the ability to improve oneself can be achieved through higher education.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was once viewed as an obstacle to the Obama administration taking up immigration reform, put his weight beyond the bill and praised the state’s immigrants as a “driving force in our city’s cultural and economic life.”
It’s great to see elected officials finally stand up and recognize the role immigration and immigrants play in our cultural and economic worlds, and it is even better to see an offering of partnership with those communities. And it is especially nice to hear these stories in the wake of so many other stories of “papers please” ALEC-sponsored legislation
Photo from barnaby via flickr.