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Senate moves forward with college aid for illegal immigrants

July 14, 2011 |  2:08 pm

Illegal immigrants would be allowed to get privately financed student aid administered by state universities and colleges under legislation approved Thursday by the state Senate and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown is expected to approve the measure, which is part of the California Dream Act, having declared during last year’s election campaign that he would have signed a similar bill.

The measure would give students in the country illegally the ability to receive scholarships and other private financial aid that is overseen by the systems of the California State University, California Community Colleges and University of California.

A separate bill that would allow illegal immigrants to receive publicly funded financial aid including Calgrants, has stalled in the Senate over its potential cost to taxpayers.

Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) said the state should not stand in the way of students who graduate from high school in California with grades good enough to get into college.

"It’s about supporting those who work hard, play by the rules and want to improve their standard of living," Calderon said during a floor debate before the 26-11 party-line vote. "Their accomplishment should not be disregarded or their future jeopardized because of their legal status."

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga was among the Republicans opposing AB 130. He said it gives students false hope by allowing them to get help paying for college even though they may not be able to get a job afterward, especially work requiring special certification or security clearance, because of their illegal status.

"If you don’t have your citizenship squared away before you graduate you cannot get a license to practice what you have been going to school for," Dutton told his colleagues. "This is just doing an injustice to these young people."

Both bills are part of a years-long effort by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) who said children brought to the country illegally should not be punished for the acts of their parents.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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