A repeal of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act sponsored by State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has received significant student support in its first week.
The DREAM Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 10, allows undocumented college students to qualify for and receive state financial aid. If Donnelly obtains valid signatures from 504,760 registered California voters before Jan. 6, a ballot measure to repeal the DREAM Act will appear on the Nov. 2012 ballot.
The petition received 7,800 signatures in its first week, and 20 percent was from college students, according to Donnelly.
Donnelly disapproves of the DREAM Act because he says it provides illegal immigrants with some of the same benefits legal residents have.
“We need to have one standard, and offering money to illegal immigrants is just wrong in so many ways,” Donnelly said. “Giving them the same benefits as legal residents and U.S. citizens who’ve worked so hard is wrong.”
Aimee Chang, a sophomore majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies, said the DREAM Act should be repealed because it could negatively affect U.S. citizens.
“[The DREAM Act] should be repealed because it can really have a negative impact for American citizens,” Chang said. “It is already hard enough to get adequate financial aid as it is.”
Alex Chin, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said given the current state of the U.S. economy, money should be spent on citizens rather than on illegal immigrants.
“The economy is in a major slump right now,” Chin said. “By allowing illegal immigrants to obtain financial aid, we’re spending tax dollars on them when we really should be spending it on the education of U.S. citizens.”
College students already pay high prices to attend college and government funds should be directed to help alleviate the financial burden of college for legal residents, Donnelly said.
“What I hear college students complaining [about] the most is not getting their classes,” Donnelly said. “A four year education should not take five years. We’ve broken the promise to students that we will pay for their education and we should fix this instead of paying for the tuition of illegal immigrants.”
Other students, however, said they believe undocumented students should not be prevented from receiving financial aid.
“Students who graduate from California high schools should receive funding to attend [public] California universities,” said Katrina Kaiser, a sophomore majoring in economics. “[Undocumented students] have integrated into the California community, culture and economic fabric.”