While many immigration issues still have a way to go in California, many undocumented students may be getting some good news soon. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law new legislation that would allow some 41,000 undocumented students financial access to many college programs, including Cal Grants, UC grants and other state-funded scholarships. The bill is known as AB131, and it is the second half of the California Dream Act. While it is not a green card, it will provide a boost to many undocumented students.
The bill would set aside about $13 million for undocumented college students. The funds would come out of a program that received about $700 million in funding during the 2009-10 school year. Undocumented students would only be allowed to use the funding after legal residents have applied for it. Whatever is left over can then be used as financial assistance to undocumented students.
In an Aug. 25 press conference, Brown said, “I do believe we can get kids into higher education. Giving incentives to bright, capable young people is something I want to encourage, not discourage.”
The California Dream Act does not provide a means of obtaining legal permanent residence for undocumented students. This is contrary to the proposed federal DREAM Act, which would allow for legalized permanent residence status for many undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. Under the provisions of the California bill, information is to be kept confidential and is not allowed to be shared with other state or federal agencies.
Source: Times Of India, “Immigration groups urge Brown to sign part two of California Dream Act,” Sunita Sohrabji, Oct. 2, 2011