California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the second half of the California Dream Act into law on Saturday, allowing illegal immigrants to apply for state-funded scholarships and financial aid at state universities, The Associated Press reports.
Brown signed the first half of the legislative package in July, making illegal immigrants eligible to receive loans and scholarships from private programs. Students who have graduated from a California high school and are legalizing their immigration status already pay resident tuition rates, the AP reports.
According to the AP:
Twelve other states, including Texas, New York and Washington, have passed similar legislation allowing illegal immigrant students to apply for in-state tuition.
The bills are different from the federal Dream Act, which includes a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.
Under the new law, illegal immigrants who graduate from a California high school after attending school in the state for at least three years may apply for state financial aid, the L.A. Times reports. They must also be able to show that they are in the process of legalizing their immigration status.
The state will consider their applications after legal residents have applied, according to the AP.
According to Time Magazine:
The Dream Act will open the state's Cal Grant money pot to illegal immigrant students in 2013. The California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 undocumented students will qualify for Cal Grant funding as a result of the Dream Act, allowing $14.5 million for those students.
Reaction to the new law was immediate.
“The signing of now both parts of the California Dream Act will send a message across the country that California is prepared to lead the country with a positive and productive vision for how we approach challenging issues related to immigration,” said Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who introduced the bill, the AP reports
Federation for American Immigration Reform spokeswoman Kristen Williamson said the bill was "a reckless use of taxpayer money," the L.A. Times reports.
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