OPINION: California’s Dream Act unfair… to California residents

by Israel J. Wilder
Staff Writer

As some of you may know earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act. The California Dream Act can loosely be described as a law that grants illegal immigrants access to state financial aid for public universities and community colleges and is to take effect January 2013.

In order to qualify, illegal immigrant students must attend a California high school for at least three years and graduate. They also have to provide proof that they are in the process of applying for legal immigration status. Supporters say that this is a means to help the children of illegal immigrants better their lives.

This seems unfair to low income students (that are legal U.S. citizens) who already have to compete to receive Cal Grants. According to state budget office estimates, the California Dream Act could cost anywhere between $22 million and $42 million annually to implement. Roughly $13 million of that would come from money that is already set aside for low-income students whose grades qualify them for Cal Grants.

Aren’t we in a financial crisis right now? That money could be going to college funding so we do not have to cut more classes. Furthermore, California already has a program that allows illegal immigrants to pay less in state tuitions.

What kind of message are we sending to the rest of the world? It sounds like the United States is rewarding something illegal. We already have overcrowded class rooms in California. What will this do to the number of illegal immigrants coming to our country daily?

An American education can go a long way in other countries. Consider the possibility that a lot of these students might get their education and leave the country for their homeland. So far, I have found nothing in my research that prevents that from happening.

I am not an expert on politics. However, I am a California college student. I, like many others, have struggled financially in order to pursue my educational goals. What about us?

As you can imagine I am not the only one who feels this way. There is already a campaign demanding a repeal. California Republican Assemblyman, Tim Donnelly, is collecting signatures to make sure the repeal gets placed on voting ballots.

“Here we are, at a time when we have just slashed the university system by $1.3 million, and there are fewer spots for all students,” said Donnelly. “But somehow we have got that money to pay for people who are in the country illegally?”

This is exactly my point. This may be the first time in my life that I have ever agreed with a Republican.

I am very interested to see how this ends up. I am sure that our government can figure out a way to make this fair for everyone. Until then, just remember to vote on the matter when the time comes. I know I will.

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