The Illinois DREAM Act passed the state's Senate by a margin of 45-11 Wednesday with wide bipartisan support, the Huffington Post reports.
The bill will now go before the House, where Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan has spoken out in favor of immigrant rights.
The act is named after a proposed piece of federal legislation that stalled in Congress during the lame-duck session this past winter. That measure would have allowed some undocumented students to move toward citizenship, provided they met certain criteria.
Illinois couldn't go that far, but SB 2185 creates a "DREAM Fund," a scholarship account funded entirely by private dollars, to give out scholarships for higher education to students without legal status.
In addition, it encourages counselors to receive training on education opportunities for undocumented students, and makes college savings programs and prepaid tuition programs available to all Illinois residents.
Even conservatives could get behind that. Observers reported on Twitter that Sen. Tom Johnson, one of the Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, told the chamber, "This is an American-value issue."
We're encouraged that federal legislators will eventually come around to agree with him about a concept that seems pretty obvious: As Johnson put it, immigrant youths are "our future" and "our fellow Americans."
Read more at the Huffington Post.
In other news: Another HBCU Down the Drain?