Undocumented students to get public money
September 4, 2011
A controversial state measure to provide publicly-funded financial aid to undocumented immigrant college students has ignited a widespread political firefight, and Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated he is likely to sign the bill into law. [Reuters]
The Assembly passed AB 131 (Manuel Perez, D-Coachella) by a 45-27 vote Friday with amendments requested by the governor. It’s part of the so-called Dream Act, the first section of which was passed in July, to allow undocumented students access to taxpayer money.
Republicans dissented, asserting the law will “encourage entry without authorization,” and claiming the law illogically does not address the issue of undocumented college graduates who still would not be not allowed to legally work in the United States.
“If we are going to invest in those students we should get some return on investment when they leave school for the workforce,” said Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills.
“The Senate made history today by voting to pass … the final portion of the California Dream Act,” said Assembly member Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles.
Cedillo said that, if the governor okays the bill, it would “increase the earning potential of these students, which helps all of us by contributing to our tax base.”
That’s likely, because the bill is the final page to a plan Brown proposed during his campaign. It would go into effect in 2013, and its cost has been pegged at about $40 million annually. Some legal residents from other states could also benefit from the bill’s provision.
California is one of about a dozen states that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, but only a handful allow financial aid for those individuals.