California’s DREAM Act Brings Sharp Criticism From Opponents

Only 30 percent of white voters approve of the new law, which grants illegal immigrants the same financial aid for college as legal citizens.

Posted: 11/19/2011 02:31 PM EST
Filed Under education, immigration

The immigration debate in California is one that has only intensified in recent years, and now that the state has passed a new law granting financial assistance for college to illegal immigrants, many California voters are voicing their disapproval.

 

According to a new survey conducted by University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and The Los Angeles Times, only 30 percent of white voters support the California DREAM Act compared to 79 percent of Latinos. The cost of state education weighed heavily in the racial divide: more Latinos polled said they feel they may be unable to afford university education when compared to whites.

 

Gov. Jerry Brown approved the DREAM Act last month amid sharp criticism from state Republicans. The bipartisan survey found that 53 percent of registered Democrats supported the new law, while only 23 percent of Republicans did. "It's morally wrong. We have just created a new entitlement that is going to cause tens of thousands of people to come here illegally from all over the world," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican who represents the San Bernardino region.

 

Beginning in 2013, eligible illegal immigrants accepted by state public universities will have access to the same financial aid as legal citizens through Cal Grants, a taxpayer-funded program that last year gave financial aid to more than 370,000 low-income students. It also permits students to obtain fee waivers in the community college system. Students will have to meet certain requirements to be eligible, including having graduated from a California high school after attending school in the state for at least three years and providing documentation to show that they are in the process of applying for citizenship.

 

Separately, in the state of Alabama, Blacks and Latinos have banded together to fight a controversial immigration law that, among other provisions, requires state and local law enforcement officials to verify a person’s immigration status during routine traffic stops or arrests, if they feel “a reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the country illegally. It has been deemed a “civil rights crisis” by federal judge and civil rights veteran U. W. Clemon, who says the immigration law's racial profiling undermines a century of progress in America.

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