SAN DIEGO -- This week, the California Dream Act bill heads to the State Senate, and if passed, it would make higher education more accessible for undocumented students. While it would allow them to apply for state financial aid, the state measure would differ from the federal Dream Act, which would clear the way for citizenship.
"What it would do is allow these students who are highly motivated to pursue their education at a time that they are left with no other options," said Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director of Equality Alliance in San Diego and an education policy expert. "By the time we do get a Federal Dream Act, they'll be even more ready to contribute to our economy."
Beginning in 2005, Los Angeles Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat, has repeatedly pushed for the California Dream Act. Gov. Jerry Brown pledged last year to sign it. If passed, the measure would help up to 25,000 undocumented high school graduates pay for college--about 6 percent of the total incoming college student population.
Critics of the California Dream Act, such as Republican Assemblyman Tim Donelly, say the measure would encourage more illegal immigration to the state, at a time of budget restraints.