How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Will the California Dream Act become law? Readers' reactions

Photo by CSU Stanislaus Photo/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A post earlier this week addressing whether or not California Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a bill making up part of what's known as the California Dream Act has generated a very long string of comments, an example of how divisive the debate over the bill has become.

The California Dream Act is composed of two measures, one already signed into law by Brown in July, the other awaiting his signature by Sunday's approval deadline. The first measure, known as AB 130, will grant undocumented college students access to privately funded scholarships and grants; the second, if it becomes law, would allow them to access the same publicly-funded financial aid that other students are able to obtain for tuition.

Part of the rub with the second bill, known as AB 131, is the money. With the state in a financial crisis, even some of those who didn't mind the first bill oppose this one. The measure could cost between $22 million and $42 million to implement, according to the office of state Assembly member Gil Cedillo, who sponsored both bills. However, roughly $13 million of that would come from money already set aside for low-income students whose grades qualify them for CalGrants.

While there is vocal opposition, not necessarily along party lines, the bill has the widespread support of immigrant and Latino advocacy groups, along with a network of undocumented college students and their supporters. Undocumented students in California may obtain in-state tuition rates, but are presently barred from financial aid.

The comments under Wednesday's post have ranged from ardent support of AB 131 to outrage that it's being even considered. A few of the highlights, unedited:

Maldonado wrote:



*******************I don't really understand  how some  of you can talk like that about illegal immigrants as if we were from another planet, we are just people that want to get a better future working in this country, doing the kind of jobs that you won't do not even obligated. we are not taking any money from you......we are the ones who cook your food, clean and build your houses. Are we taking your jobs? Are you a US citizen looking for a job? I give you the address of the restaurant where I work so you can earn money as a dish washer,  it is for sure that no even a starving US citizen will get lower to that point. Do you think you are better than us? show me physically what you have that we don't......we have feelings, just like you. we get sick just like you. And also we are people, just like you*********************

HeSaid1 wrote:


Just to set the record straight, this is not about loans.  Illegal Alien Students are not eligible for loans.  AB 131 (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors and its contents at:  http://www.aroundthecapitol.co... will give FREE State, Local, and Federal monies for books, living expense, etc., EOPS funds, fee (tuition) waivers, and other Board of Governors discretionary decisions.

It does not make them eligible to be legally employed, nor provide a path to citizenship.  It would give them free money for a higher education with no ROI (return of investment) and add to our bankrupt State's debt ($38 Million) while displacing and "pricing out" those Legal Students (Californian Legal Residents and Legal Immigrants) through reverse economic discrimination.  Also, for the four year schools, out-of-state and Foreign Nationals are being recruited because they can pay nearly double the in-state tuition, to line the coffers of the de-funded system.


To which Anon replied:


So what? Education is by far the most important thing for a society to move forward. I just don't get it, we blame immigrants for almost everything and yet we do not have the decency to educate them? Let alone we already pay k-12 for them, why not finish the deal for a few extra dollars? voting against education is voting for a backwards society.

LIZCABRERA wrote:





I sure hope he doesn't sign it. It's hard enough for citizens to qualify for these loans. I know that will probably offend all the loud mouth advocates, but it's true.

My Grandfather immigrated from Cuba in the 1930's. He joined the military, served for six years, and earned the right to become a citizen. In this process, he never once sought money from the State. Immigrants of today are not the same as immigrants from 'yester-year'.




Jack wrote in reply:




The eras don't compare. During the great depression, there was no government assistance until Roosevelt signed major construction jobs bills and other progressive reform bills. Even then, there was no guarantee of a job, so what did men do instead? that's right, join the military. I almost guarantee you that your grandfather took advantage of the G.I. bill that was passed shortly before the war was over in one way or another.

What decisions your grandfather made, he did so as an adult. AB 131 is for kids that were brought here illegally as children. Assuming that you still have a connection with your Hispanic heritage, how can you criticize these kids for asking for an opportunity to earn the right to an education? Forget the legal vs illegal argument, my grandfather migrated back and forth illegally between Mexico and the U.S. without a problem until he decided to stop by the immigration office and pick up his green card before becoming a U.S. citizen.

Times have changed, the rules that once applied have changed. This has always been a country of immigrants and for anyone to claim that only they have the right to live here is ridiculous. True, everyone should follow the law as far as immigrating legally, but when necessity rules out other options, you can't blame someone for doing what's best for their family.



Felicitywrote:


I just can't understand how illegal aliens come and demand so much in this country. If you want to study in a University in Guadalajara you have to be a Mexican citizen, or even in any public school in Mexico you must be a Mexican citizen or pay a private school.

Susanamontes1 wrote:





Many people are ignorant and do alot of talk with actually taking the time out there ignorant life to do some reading and think about what they are saying,

I am an undocumented student i have been living in the us since the age of two my dad my mom are both undoucemnted and the have never broken the law never asked for welfare.

We aren't stilling money from american citizen that pay taxes because we also pay taxes. My parents are giving and IRS to pay taxes but aren't giving a working visa. At the age of ten the irs gave me and my sister and IRS number for us too pay taxes too when ever we stared working but nothing to our benefit.My dad gets taken away the same amount of money as any other tax payer would, but he gets much less back than an american citizen tax payer would.

So who are we stealing from?

stop being ignorant and just saying that its mexico that just proves how racist you are they are immigrant from Canada,Africa,Japan,Pacific Islanders.

We aren't aliens we are humans that want the same thing as you an opportunity








A couple of readers were more succinct. One identified as Get Real called the bill "an insult to all citizens and legal immigrants," while Ronald wrote simply: "Pass the Bill!" There were several other comments, some more printable than others.

Sunday, Oct. 9 is the deadline for Brown to sign or veto AB 131 and a long list of other bills, including SB 185, a measure that would allow the consideration of race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin in undergraduate and graduate admissions.

A recent version of AB 131 can be downloaded here.

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