IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The California Dream Act is Back!

With all the new pieces of legislation being churned out of the Bad Bill Mill, I almost missed the resurrection of the California Dream Act by former Speaker Fabian Nunez via AB 2083. This is the scheme originally cooked up by Senator Gil Cedillo (SB 160) in 2006, which would give illegal immigrants access to state funded financial aid.

Without pointing out the obvious fact that we should not be rewarding people for being in the country illegally, I would like to point out some problems with this measure.

First of all, California taxpayers subsidize somewhere between 70-80% of the cost of higher education in this state. This subsidy was expanded to include illegal immigrants thanks to the passage of SB 540 in 2001. So now they want Californians to subsidize the rest of their education? I think not!

Secondly, this measure comes with a low-balled estimated cost of $4.6 million, $12. million of which will come from Prop. 98 funds which funds K-12 education. Does it really make sense to increase spending on illegal immigrants when most state agencies are facing budget cuts? Keep in mind that every dollar spent on financial aid for illegal immigrants takes funding away from the core missions of our higher education institutions along with K-12 education.

Finally, just last year Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed this idea that came to him in the form of SB 1, also authored by Senator Cedillo. He stated in his veto message:

California has over 100,000 students here legally who apply annually for financial aid to attend college, and our state has limited funds available for this important purpose.

While I do not believe that undocumented children should be penalized for the acts of their parents, this bill would penalize students here legally by reducing the financial aid they rely on to allow them to go to college and pursue their dreams.

I find it hard (ok maybe not that hard) to believe that his position has changed on this issue; which causes one to beg the question: has a deal been cut between the former Speaker and the Governor? One can only speculate… And so… I am.