In the past 10 years the rate of Hispanic growth in Florida has been exponential and only looks to increase for a while before stopping. Many businesses and schools are adapting to the growth in the Latino population and gearing programs and events to incorporate them. For California this is not a new issue, they have seen a rise in the Latino (especially Mexican due to sharing a border) population for many years and have adapted as usual. In recent years the fight regarding illegal immigrants has come to a head and California has taken a step in its decision on how to handle it, for the immigrants.
The Dream Act, has been tossed around in legislation and has most often been rejected, although it is gaining momentum. It would allow for children under the age of 18, who came into the United States illegally and have been here for over 5 years, the opportunity to get funding to attend college and possibly gain citizenship. As the Hispanic population has grown the Act is gaining more supporters and has finally won a major battle in California.
On Monday, July 25th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 130 of the Dream Act at the Los Angeles City College. This first part, in a two part bill, allows students who are here illegally to receive private funded scholarships to attend any California public college. When Brown signed the bill he stated “It’s crucial that we invest in every child that lives and is born in this state. Signing this Dream Act is another piece of investment in people because people drives the culture, the economy.”
With California setting the precedence, what can this mean for Florida, another state whose Hispanics are exponentially growing every year? Well currently, Florida is primarily a Republican state and if this bill were to be drawn through party lines, most Democrats support the bill while Republicans do not so therefore Florida potentially not support the bill. Yet every year, especially in the Central Florida area, the Latino population is booming and many have shown to support the Democrats. Although many of these are Puerto Ricans who are already U.S. citizens and would not be affected by this act, there are many Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans and Latin/South Americans who call Florida home and support the bill. As these numbers grow Florida could change its party lines and support the Dream Act into action.
There are still many people who oppose the bill especially the second part the AB 131 which would allow students who are here illegally to receive State and Federal Government funding through loans and scholarships/grants. This does not sit well with the citizen population who are already struggling with sending their children to college and being restricted by the amount of public aid given to them. Currently the University of Central Florida can not give out much in out of state financial aid due to the cut backs and limited resources, for citizens alone. For this upcoming year tuition for out of state students will approximately be over $12,000 per semester not including books and living expenses. Currently illegal immigrants do not have to pay out of state tuition if they have been living in that particular state for over 6 months.
The Dream Act would be a dream come true for many children and families who fought their way over here to receive a better life. It would give them a chance they could not receive in their homeland and they risk their lives to attain the American Dream. But those who are citizens here and have paid the price over and over again to a Government that is in extreme debt and are losing their jobs and financial help are the ones who would pay the price for this Dream Act to come through. Schools are one of the first places to receive budget cuts and one can imagine this can only get worse with the Dream Act. Citizens are already paying the price with education and competing for college funding and entrance is already extremely difficult, so what is the solution? Is there even a solution? Tell me what you think.
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