California Legislature is on the verge of passing a new law that would allow illegal immigrants to receive state-financial aid for college.
A part of the two-bill package, known as California DREAM Act, has been approved by the Senate. The act would make California the first state to offer public funding to undocumented students.
The approved section of the DREAM Act would allow qualified illegal immigrants to apply for Cal Grants, community college waivers and other public aid programs. To become eligible for the aid, the students would need to be California high school graduates who were educated in the state for a minimum of three years, and demonstrate both financial need and academic merit.
Although the new law would not provide a citizenship path for the students, it would give them more benefits than in any other state in the country.
Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who represents San Bernardino, is a vocal critic of the Act and said he would try to organize a ballot referendum to overturn the legislation. “The governor is coming to the folks and saying they need to pay more, and then he’s going to turn around and say we still have money to hand over to people who are in the country illegally. That is absolutely wrong,” said Donnelly.