California DREAM Act Moves Forward (Backward for Taxpayers)
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Perhaps it’s the late spring proliferation of graduation ceremonies, but the media seems extra full of sob stories about illegal alien students, carefully crafted to sentimentalize the foreign kids and ignore the young citizens bumped from college slots.

We read about sympathetic youngsters who are characterized as courageously “coming out of the shadows” although zero DREAM Act demanders have been deported. They parade around in graduation drag, proclaiming their squirrelly status to no effect. Some annoying anarchists in mortarboards shut down Wilshire Boulevard for a time in 2010, but they only got tickets and no repatriation (pictured below).

In benighted Mexifornia, Jerry Brown’s special DREAM Act is swinging into gear to deliver taxpayer-funded college education to illegal aliens at a time when the state is in extreme financial distress. The Democrat-run state is closing parks at the same time it is expanding benefits to non-citizens, estimated by the Legislative Analyst Office to cost $65 million by 2016.

Scholarship money for undocumented students at Cal State, Press-Enterprise, May 19, 2012

Two groups are holding a fundraiser tonight to raise money for undocumented immigrants at Cal State San Bernardino. Similar events have been held at UC Riverside.

Luis Nolasco, an undocumented student who graduated from Cal State in December, said Students for Equal Access to Education and Latino Education and Advocacy Days hopes to raise $1,000 to create a scholarship fund.

Illegal immigrant students can attend public universities in California with in-state tuition, but they’ve always been ineligible for publicly funded scholarships.

The California Dream Act, which was enacted last year, allows undocumented immigrants who have been in California for three years or more to receive private scholarships. A second part of the law will allow access to Cal Grants and other state-funded aid beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Emotions on the issue are high. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who represents part of San Bernardino County, led an effort a few months ago to repeal the law allowing state aid. Polls showed a majority of Californians oppose the law, but repeal backers were unable to gather enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the ballot. 

University administrators don’t expect a big impact when the law goes fully into effect, although a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s office estimates the law will cost the state about $65 million a year by 2016-17.

Donnelly told me in December that “it’s absolute sheer insanity” to give state aid to illegal immigrants, especially during a budget crisis.

Supporters of undocumented students argue that those who will benefit from the law are long-term residents of California, many who arrived in the state as young children.

Nolasco, who is 21, arrived from Mexico at age 9. He said he overloaded his schedule at Cal State so he could finish in three years, to save money on tuition. His parents worked two jobs to pay his college costs, and Nolasco worked as a tutor and had other jobs.

He said the scholarship fund will help students stay in college.

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