Achieving the American Dream
On July 25 2011, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California signed AB 130 better known as the first part of the California Dream Act into law. This law provides high school graduates in California who immigrated to the United States without documentation under the age of 16 and have met the state residency requirements for in-state tuition the rights and privileges to access private scholarships to the University of California, California Community Colleges, and Cal Tech University.
The bill had previously passed both chambers of the California Legislature in 2006 and 2007. In both cases the bills were vetoed by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. With Democrats in control of both chambers of the legislature as well as the Governorship, the bill was finally able to pass. In spite of the passage of this bill, the work is not yet over.
There is a second part of the policy that has yet to be signed into law. This policy known as AB 131 would give the same people access to public scholarships and grants to the same universities. This bill has not yet been passed by the California Legislature due to concerns that permitting children of undocumented immigrants would result in larger numbers of undocumented immigrants coming to California and would earn such perks at the expense of documented immigrants and current residents.
It is important to note however that only roughly 41,000 people (or less than 1 percent of total enrollees) would qualify for tuition reduction in the California tertiary education systems. Only 80 undocumented students would qualify for complete aid. In order words, such a policy would not harm current residents in California or documented immigrants to California who meet the requirements.
In order for the United States to continue to operate as a successful country, it is imperative that immigrants be welcomed to the country and that they be given every opportunity to secede here. For immigrants to be successful here, it is essential that they have the same access to scholarships and educational opportunities provided that they meet the requirements and criteria for them. If the immigrants are successful here, it is very likely that they will stay and raise their families here and help improve the economy here. With millions of Americans out of work, we need all the help that we can get.