California “Dream Act” Provides Hope For Many
They are both undocumented, and they were both brought to California, illegally, by parents who wanted their children to have a better life.
Now, under legislation signed into law over the weekend by Gov. Brown, they will have access to financial aid for college. The only restriction is that beneficiaries must have attended California high schools.
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They feel that the benefits they will now be able to access were earned by their parents.
"Property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes; nobody can escape those things," said Ramirez.
"Home ownership, car ownership, you pay taxes; every one of these," said Gomez.
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who authored the bill, said the state "Dream Act" foresees a day when immigration reform will give young people like Ramirez and Gomez a path to citizenship. They are both working toward that goal, anyway.
"We don’t care where they come from," says Cedillo. "We just care where they’re headed."
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-San Bernardino, has a different view. He has launched a referendum campaign to repeal the measure.
Donnelly says, in tough budgetary times, giving illegal immigrants or their children an extra advantage is an insult to everyone else.
He points to the higher tuition that has made it tough for all students trying to attend University of California and Cal State schools. And he says the new law will create a new motive for people to cross the border illegally.
"Is it the purpose of government to solve the consequences of parents who’ve behaved badly," asks Donnelly.
Cedillo turns the question around.
"As Americans, we do not punish the children for the acts of their parents," he says.