Assembly Dems make another push for state-level DREAM Act

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Assembly Democrats made their latest push Tuesday for a state-level DREAM Act, with the bill soon headed for another vote in the chamber.

The bill was reported out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and will soon be put to the full chamber, where it is expected to pass.

The Assembly’s version of the bill includes two major provisions. One would make illegal immigrants eligible for state-level tuition-assistance and scholarship programs. The other would establish a state board to come up with private funding opportunities to provide scholarships to students with at least one immigrant parent.

“Not only is this DREAM Act about helping young people realize the benefits of a college diploma, but it is also an investment in our state,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Tuesday.

The Assembly passed a version of the DREAM Fund legislation last year, but it was never taken up by the Senate. Senate Independent Democratic Leader Jeff Klein, who now shares control of the chamber with the Senate GOP, has indicated support for both the DREAM Act and fund.

But the bill faces opposition from some Republicans as well as the Conservative Party, an influential third party that has provided key support for many Senate Republicans.

“It is not the role of New York State to decide what benefits illegal aliens are eligible for; therefore, it is not the role of New York State to pass a Dream Act for illegal residents in New York,” Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said in a statement. “The Dream Act is not good policy as it awards illegal activity at the expense of those who are legal residents of New York.”

Assembly Higher Education Chairwoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, said the DREAM Act would assist the “state’s immigrant youth” by helping them “access the financial support they need to pursue a college education and make their dreams come true.”

Here’s bill sponsor Francisco Moya, an assemblyman from Queens, discussing the legislation:

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  1. Immigration is something that is beginning to be handled at the state level. Since a similar measure has been passed in Maryland, it will be interesting to see what happens next.