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Effort to repeal California Dream Act falls short of goal

January 6, 2012 | 10:11 am

Opponents of the California Dream Act have failed to gather enough petition signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would have repealed the legislation, organizers said Friday.

Volunteers and a small group of paid signature gatherers had hoped to collect more than 500,000 valid signatures by this week to stop the legislation, which gives illegal immigrants access to state financial aid at public universities and community colleges. They were able to gather nearly 450,000 signatures, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino) said in a statement.

Supporters of the California Dream Act have argued that many young undocumented immigrants came to the country through no fault of their own; those opposed stressed that the state should not use scarce resources on illegal immigrants.

"This is disappointing news, especially in light of Governor Brown's announcement that he will be seeking yet another tax hike on California families," Donnelly said in a statement.

In a statement, Dream Act sponsor Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) said he was "elated" to hear that the effort failed.

"Assemblymember Donnelly's proposal would have taken us in a very negative, destructive and intentionally divisive direction," Cedillo said.

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-- Paloma Esquivel

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