How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Will Jerry Brown sign the California Dream Act's AB 131?

Photo courtesy of Dream Team Los Angeles

UCLA graduate and California Dream Act supporter Nancy Meza holds petitions in downtown Los Angeles, Wednesday, October 5, 2011

California Gov. Jerry Brown has just four days left to sign or veto a bill known as AB 131, part of what's called the California Dream Act, before a bill-signing deadline.

Brown has indicated his support in the past for the measure, which would allow undocumented students access to publicly-funded financial aid for college. But with little time left to go - and a history of similar bills being vetoed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - the students who would benefit from AB 131 and immigrant advocates are increasing the pressure.

In Los Angeles, student activists organized a small demonstration downtown this morning to deliver petitions to Brown's local office. Other AB 131 supporters have been circulating petitions online and urging calls to the governor.

No word yet from Brown's office today on the likelihood that he'll decide on the bill before Friday, but a spokesman for AB 131 sponsor Gil Cedillo, a Democratic state assembly member from Los Angeles, said the governor has until Sunday.

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Readers react to the California Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Students' t-shirts at the AB 130 signing ceremony at Los Angeles City College Monday, July 25, 2011

Readers have posted close to 30 comments since Monday on a piece related to the California Dream Act, half of which was signed into law that day by Gov. Jerry Brown in Los Angeles.

The bill that became law, known as AB 130, is the slimmer of two bills that would make it easier for undocumented college students to pay tuition. AB 130 gives these students access to privately funded university scholarships derived from non-state funds.

The more contentious AB 131, which remains hung up in a state Senate committee, would give them access to publicly funded financial aid, which only U.S. citizen and legal resident students are entitled to now.

Public funds or not, the idea of giving undocumented students an easier path through college clearly rattles some. California already allows undocumented college students who meet residency criteria to pay in-state tuition rates, unlike many other states.

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Now that half the California Dream Act is law, what's next?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Students' t-shirts at the AB 130 signing ceremony today at Los Angeles City College, July 25, 2011

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Students' t-shirts at the AB 130 signing ceremony today at Los Angeles City College, July 25, 2011


As students peered through bookshelves to catch a glimpse, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a piece of legislation known as AB 130 in the library of Los Angeles City College, a community college serving students on the working-class southern fringe of Hollywood.

The bill is one-half of a legislative package referred to as the California Dream Act, two bills sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo that aim to make it easier for undocumented college students to pay for college. The mood was celebratory as Brown put pen to paper, granting these students access to scholarships based on private, non-state funding previously unavailable to them.

But afterward, the students in the library made no bones about being disappointed that AB 130's companion bill, AB 131, has yet to make it to the Senate floor for a vote. That bill would enable them to access public state-funded financial aid, including Cal Grants, as U.S. citizen and legal resident students do now.

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What the California Dream Act's AB 130 does - and doesn't do

Photo by sea turtle/Flickr (Creative Commons)


Although his staff hasn't come right out and said it, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign part of a legislative package referred to as the California Dream Act today. Immigrant advocates expect the governor to sign legislation referred to as AB 130, recently approved in the state Senate, during a town hall meeting that Brown will attend this afternoon at Los Angeles City College. The meeting is hosted by Democratic Assembly member Gil Cedillo, who sponsored AB 130 and a companion bill.

If Brown signs the bill, it will be a victory for the state's undocumented college students, long barred from most forms of financial aid at public colleges and universities. To some degree, it's a symbolic one: Unlike its companion AB 131, which would allow them access to the same public financial aid U.S. citizens and legal residents are entitled to, AB 130 only allows these students access to privately funded scholarships.

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First part of California Dream Act headed to governor's office

Photo by Jens Schott Knudsen/Flickr (Creative Commons)

One of two bills referred to as the California Dream Act was approved today by the state senate and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's office for approval. Known as AB 130, the measure would allow undocumented college students access to privately funded financial aid in the form of scholarships and other assistance as overseen by state colleges and universities.

The bill does not, however, provide them with the state-funded public financial aid that U.S. citizen and legal resident students are entitled to. A companion bill known as AB 131 that would allow undocumented students access to public financial aid remains in the Senate and has yet to move beyond the committee stage. Broader public financial aid programs such as Cal Grants remains off limits.

Here's a legislative summary of what was approved today:

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