Opinion: Immigration: Brown signs Dream Act
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This blog has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
It seems Assemblyman Gill Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) has finally succeeded in getting at least half of the California Dream Act passed. On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 130, the bill that allows undocumented immigrant students attending California state colleges or universities to apply for scholarships funded by private donors. Three previous attempts at similar bills failed or were vetoed.
AB 130 doesn’t guarantee students access to additional funds nor state aid. A companion bill, AB 131, remains stuck in the Senate. That bill would allow illegal immigrants to apply for state loans and grants.
Brown’s decision is sure to stir strong reaction. Opponents argue that AB130 rewards and encourages illegal immigration, while supporters say it allows those students who had no say in how they were brought to the U.S. access to a college degree. Brown signed the bill during a stop at the Los Angeles City College Library, where Cedillo was hosting a town hall meeting.
Brown signed the bill the same day President Obama spoke publicly about the fate of comprehensive immigration reform. Obama blamed Republicans in Congress for thwarting reform efforts. Speaking to the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights group, Obama said Republicans who once offered bipartisan support for legislation, including a national DREAM Act that would create a conditional path to legalization for those young illegal immigrants who attend college or enlist in the military, now only endorse enforcement efforts.
‘Five years ago, 23 Republican senators supported comprehensive immigration reform because they knew it was the right thing to do for the economy and it was the right thing to do for America,’ Obama said. ‘Today, they’ve walked away. Republicans helped write the DREAM Act because they knew it was the right thing to do for the country. Today, they’ve walked away.’
Republicans have criticized the White House for failing to secure the border with Mexico and have called on Obama to step up enforcement efforts.
For the record, 8:20 p.m. July 25: A previous version of this post said AB131 doesn’t guarantee students access to additional funds nor state aid. It should have said AB130.
-- Sandra Hernandez