Undocumented students in California can now get private financial aid for college after Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s Dream Act into law on Monday.
As Brown signed the legislation, he said it was “another piece of an investment in people.” He also said the Dream Act was one more step in helping the education system among significant funding cuts.
“We are facing many obstacles and adversaries,” he said. “The debate is very clear: shrivel public service, shrink back, retrench, retreat from higher education, from schools, from the investment in people; or make the investment. So this is one piece of a very important mosaic, which is a California that works for everyone and a California who understands where our strength is.
“It’s not just in having some extra money to go to a movie or to buy a flat screen television from China, it’s also being able to go to a community college or a state college and being able to pay for it.”
With Brown signing the California Dream Act into law, it ends a battle that has been going on for years – former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the Dream Act multiple times. Activists said the law was an important first step but there was more to do.
Upon signing the legislation into law, activists were pushing for more to be done.
The Dream Act’s author, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), has sponsored a second bill that would make illegal immigrants eligible for Cal Grants and other forms of state tuition aid instead of solely the private funding that is now allowed under the Dream Act Brown signed. Cedillo said he wanted to try and pass that bill later this summer.
On Monday, Cedillo said Brown was a “man of his word” by signing the Dream Act into law – something Brown said he would do when he was campaigning to be California’s governor against Republican Meg Whitman in 2010.
“You’ve had some great days as a governor, but I think this is going to be one of those days that really sets a milestone because it’s so forward-looking,” Cedillo said.
Opponents of providing public funding for undocumented students, though, said the second aspect of the Dream Act would unfairly take scholarships away from students who were legal residents of the United States.
Brown said he viewed the notion of providing public funds for undocumented students “favorably” but he did not want to “scoop” himself.
“I think we ought to wait until it gets to my desk,” he said.
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