How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The California Dream Act, part two: What it entails

Photo by sea turtle/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Earlier this month, the California state Assembly approved one of two bills referred to as the California Dream Act. While neither proposes legal status for undocumented students, as does the similarly named federal proposal, both aim to make it easier for them to pay for college.

The bill that recently cleared the Assembly was AB 130, which would allow for undocumented students who already meet the residency criteria for California in-state tuition to obtain scholarships that are not derived from state funds.

Today, the more contentious of the two bills, known as AB 131, passed 12 to 5 through the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A full Assembly vote is expected next week.

AB 131 faces slimmer odds of passage than its companion bill, which like this one is sponsored by Gil Cedillo, a Democratic Assembly member from Los Angeles. The reason: Unlike AB 130, it would allow undocumented students access to publicly-funded financial aid, including Cal Grants state grants and other financial assistance.