'Dream Act' Becomes Law: Illegal Immigrants are Given a Chance

dream actCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown signed into effect the Dream Act Saturday which makes undocumented immigrant students in California eligible to apply for state-funded financial aid. The bill, as you'd imagine, is extremely controversial. On one hand you have people who think the Dream Act is, in fact, a dream come true. Children who were brought here illegally by no fault of their own, who've worked hard in high school and who have succeeded now have the chance at financial aid for a higher education.

On the other hand, you have people who think the Dream Act is nightmare -- California is too broke to be giving out money to individuals who may or may not have paid any taxes; that college educations shouldn't be handed out to non-citizens when under-priveledged Americans aren't given the same courtesy. 

Clearly, there's a lot to discuss.

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While I do see where the opposition is coming from, I agree with Governor Brown on this one. He explains:

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

Before the act was signed, illegal immigrant students in California were allowed to attend college and pay tuition if they were accepted and proved they were on track to become citizens. Now, illegal students are allowed to apply for state-funded financial aid in order to pay for their higher ed. Key word there is apply. They're not being given anything but a chance -- they still have to qualify for the loan.

According to the California Department of Finance, it's estimated that the Dream Act will benefit about 2,500 students who will qualify for a total of $14.5 million in aid. It sounds like a high number, but it's only one percent of the state's annual budget allotted for student loans. One percent. The Cal Grant fund gives out $1.4 billion in aid to students every year.

It's a hot issue and people are staunchly on one side or the other. Wonder if this will push California to split into two like was once proposed -- the Dream Act seems to be that divisive. If immigration law was easy to solve, we wouldn't be in this situation. But personally? I think any act that allows more people a chance to receive an education only benefits our society.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with the Dream Act?

 

Photo via pamhule/Flickr

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