Gov. Jerry Brown has signed California Dream Act, legislator says
The lawmaker who authored the California Dream Act said Saturday that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the bill allowing Illegal immigrants attending California universities to receive state financial aid.
Brown's office declined comment, and an announcement on the legislation has not yet been made.
But Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) said he was notified Saturday morning by the governor's aides that Brown has approved the measure, which makes illegal immigrants who are accepted into state universities eligible, starting in 2013, for Cal-Grant assistance.
The governor’s action also allows those without citizenship papers to tap into institutional grants while attending the University of California and California State University systems, and to get fee waivers in the California community college system.
Cedillo praised Brown as an "incredible leader with the vision and courage'' for signing the bill despite its great controversy.
"After having invested 12 years in the high school education of these young men and women, who are here through no fault of their own, it's the smartest thing for us to do to permit these students to get scholarships and be treated like every other student,'' Cedillo said. "We need an educated workforce. This is good for California's economy and California's future.''
One legislative analysis predicted the bill will cost an additional $40 million to help students who qualify by graduating from a California high school after having attended school in the state for at least three years. They also must show financial need and meet academic standards.
The legislation was opposed by most of the Republican lawmakers who questioned an expansion of programs to benefit illegal immigrants while the state is cutting services to residents who are in the country properly.
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) is among those who are not persuaded by assurances of minimal to no impact on legal students. He noted that there are as many as 40,000 illegal immigrants who might apply for financial aid from funds that are limited and that are not being increased by the legislation.
"Therefore, for every dollar awarded to an undocumented student from that pot of money, a dollar would have to be taken away from a citizen or a legal immigrant," Smyth said. "I believe that is wrong.”
-- Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: UCLA student Yesenia Capellino attends a July rally for the Dream Act in Lynwood, Calif. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times