Original article posted on the UK’s Daily Mail October 9, 2011 and written by Daily Mail Reporter
Last weekend Jerry Brown signed the Dream Act, allowing college students who are illegal immigrants to receive financial aid.
California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a bill giving illegal immigrant college students access to state-funded financial aid, the second half of the two-part legislation known as the ‘Dream Act.’
The controversial measure, which passed the Democrat-controlled legislature on a party-line vote in September, represents a victory for immigrant-rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
California is the nation’s most populous state. Only two other states, Texas and New Mexico, allow illegal immigrants to qualify for state financial aid for college, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Jerry Brown, in a statement issued by his office, said: ‘Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking.
‘The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.’
Mr Brown in July fulfilled a campaign promise by signing into law a companion bill to allow illegal immigrants to receive privately-funded college scholarships, Reuters reports.
Together the two bills have been dubbed the ‘California Dream Act.’
A federal Dream Act that would have created a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military failed in Senate last year.
Opponents of the California Dream Act have argued that public funds should not be used to help illegal immigrants, especially as California faces deep budget woes that have prompted cuts in education and higher tuitions at the state’s public colleges and universities.
‘Citizens are having a hard enough time getting the classes they need now,’ assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Hesperia Republican, wrote in a September 9 letter to Brown urging him to veto the legislation.
‘(California already offers) students in the country illegally in-state tuition; legally documented students from the next state over can only dream of such a benefit,’ Donnelly added.
California is one of about a dozen states that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, based on attendance and graduation from a state high school.
Under the new law, written by Senator Gil Cedillo, a Los Angeles Democrat, those same illegal immigrants would be eligible for aid from the University of California, California State university system and the state’s 112 community colleges.
In Dayton, officials say immigrants have opened businesses and created jobs in the city’s economy.
The city hopes to reverse the region’s economic slowdown by betting on immigrants.
The plan suggests the creation of a municipal ID card for Dayton residents who don’t have any other form of ID, CNN reports.
The card could help undocumented residents who need identification to open bank accounts or apply for driver’s licenses and other services.
Another item that could have an impact on those who are in the country illegally is a recommendation that police emphasize immigration status checks only for suspects of serious crimes.