Greg Lucas of Reuters is reporting that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Saturday giving undocumented immigrant college students access to state-funded financial aid, the second half of two-part legislation known as the "Dream Act."
The controversial measure, which passed the Democrat-controlled Legislature on a party-line vote in September, represents a victory for immigrant-rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential election. California is the nation's most populous state.
Only two other states, Texas and New Mexico, allow "illegal" immigrants to qualify for state financial aid for college, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking," Brown said in a written statement issued by his office.
"The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us," he said.
Brown in July fulfilled a campaign promise by signing into law a companion bill to allow illegal immigrants to receive privately funded college scholarships. Together, the two bills have been dubbed the "California Dream Act."
Some folks are up in arms over this development, but Brown is delivering on his campaign promise, which is why the people of California elected him. Many believe that education should be accessible to all regardless of citizenship status. Brown believes that giving top students, some of whom are undocumented, the opportunity to improve their lives will benefit the state of California. Opponents say that the already cash-strapped system can't handle helping "illegal" immigrants.
Whatever the case, perhaps they should reconsider creating a clear path to citizenship for those who are pursuing higher education, which would make all of this make sense for those on both sides of the issue.
Read more at MSNBC.
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