The scholarship fund was created by the Illinois
The law’s supporters have praised it as a civil rights victory that represents an alternative to measures cracking down on undocumented immigrants that have been passed in Arizona, Alabama and other states.
“They have the ability to do college work,” Quinn said in an interview during an immigrant integration summit held by the
The governor argued that the scholarship fund will help Illinois’ economy by preparing immigrant students to be skilled workers of the state’s workforce.
To qualify for the private scholarships, students must have attended school in Illinois for at least three years, received a high school diploma and have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States.
The scholarships will be good at both private and public colleges in the state.
The law also allows families of immigrant students to participate in a state-operated college tuition savings program, and requires high school counselors to take training on how to help undocumented students find ways to pay for college.
Addressing a standing-room-only crowd of several hundred people gathered at the
The integration summit offered a range of workshops and seminars for immigrants to make the transition to life in the U.S.
One workshop helped legal immigrants begin the process of applying for U.S. citizenship. Other sessions encouraged people to become involved with their local school boards.
Jose Garcia, 29, of
“It’s just a matter of pride,” said Garcia, who said he has a valid green card and moved to the U.S. from Mexico with his family when he was a baby. “My parents have become citizens. I want to be part of the community and be able to vote and have an effect on everything that happens in the country.”
Quinn named the following people to the scholarship fund’s commission:
--Clara Rubinstein, an attorney who previously worked in Chicago's corporation counsel's office and the city's Department of Planning and Development.
--Clare Muñana, a former vice-president of the Chicago Board of Education who currenty heads the Ancora Associates management-consulting company.
--Moises Zavala, the director of organizing at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881.
--Nam H. Paik, a partner at the Baker & McKenzie law firm.
--Rigoberto Padilla-Perez, a graduate of the
--Ronald Perlman, former chair of the Illinois Advisory Council on Billingual Education who is now president of The Center: Resources for Teaching and Learning in