A couple of weeks ago we brought you the story of Ayded Reyes, a cross country athlete at Southwestern College who was locked in a deportation case. One of the elements referenced in that story was the DREAM Act, a federal law that has yet to pass that would allow illegal immigrants the ability to establish residency.
Today, California passed its own version of the DREAM Act. This new law does not allow illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, but it does allow them to qualify for educational financial aid that they previously did not have access to.
The California Dream Act is a packaged law composed of two bills. The first bill allows illegal immigrants to qualify for privately-funded grants and scholarships, while the second bill allows them to qualify for publically-funded financial aid. The law will give undocumented students extra resources in their effort to attend college. It will be enacted on New Year’s Day in 2013.
Part of the controversy of the bill is on the financial side. Estimates say about 2,500 undocumented students will attend school in 2013. Under the California Dream Act, that would make them eligible for $14.5 million in financial aid. Other analysts say that the entire program could cost somewhere between $22-42 million.
However, the costs are offset by $13 million in Cal grants that are already in the state budget for low-income students with good grades. Proponents of the California Dream Act also say many of the undocumented students have already been to school through 12th grade, and that giving those who want to attend an institution of higher education the chance to do so is beneficial to the country.
Source: Digital Journal, “California Dream Act Bill now legal for illegal immigrants,” Nancy Houser, Jan. 23, 2012