Second part of the DREAM act passed, signed into effect on October 8

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Dream Act, Issue 6, News, Shelby tatomir - By Shelby Tatomir on Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 03:19

On Saturday, Oct. 8, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill which made it legal for children of parents who are in the country illegally to apply for financial aid and scholarships at public universities and community colleges.

The second part of this act, called the DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, was passed in the House of Representatives on Oct. 5, by a 216 to 198 vote.
These students will receive funding only after legal residents have applied and been granted their allotted amount, and only if they reach certain qualifications. The qualifications require that the recipient has graduated from a California high school, and they must have attended school in the state for at least three of their high school years. They must also show that they are in the process of becoming legal residents of California.

“I love it because when your parents come here, you don’t ask for it, so it’s not fair if you’re dragged here for a better life and you and your parents don’t have papers,” senior Virginia Rodriguez said. “I think it’s great that they can do what they came here to do and go to college and get funded for it like everybody else and, essentially, have a better life because of it.”

According to the LA Times, the Democratic congressional leaders chose to push forward with the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill, because “Even some conservatives believe that the young people who would benefit were brought here illegally by others through no fault of their own and should not have to suffer for it.”

Illegal immigrants who can take advantage of this new bill are still banned from working in the state.

“In a time with skyrocketing costs of education here in California it seems to me to be a bit unequal to give a discount to nationals of another country when our own local students are having a hard time paying for college,” local conservative activist Kevin Korenthal reported to the LA Times.

“I feel like it encourages immigrants to come over illegally,” sophomore Heidi Koeger said. “So that their children can get a better education through the money from the government.”
Twelve other states, including New York, Texas and Washington, have passed legislation similar to the DREAM Act.

The State Department of Finance estimates that the cost of this act will amount to $14.5 million, or one percent of the Cal Grant funds.

“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said. “The DREAM Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”