Calif. Dream Act reaction: 'It means a lot to me' says undocumented student

California Gov. Jerry Brown
California Gov. Jerry Brown
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Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act a day before Sunday's deadline for handling the bills on his desk. Beginning a year from January undocumented college students will be able to tap into publicly funded college financial aid.

The governor's office says about 2,500 college students will become eligible to tap into nearly $15 million in Cal Grants, about 1 percent of the total. While the new law makes it easier for undocumented college students to earn their college degrees, their legal status still blocks them from effectively using that education.

Justino Mora, an undocumented student at UCLA, hopes California’s passage of this Dream Act will influence lawmakers in Washington, D.C. "It definitely gives me hope because usually the state of California is a state that, they are the ones that provide that leadership, they’re the ones that take the initiative."

Mora said it took half a day for the news to sink in. "It means a lot to me; it means that I’m going to be able to achieve my dreams, I’m going to be able to continue with my education at UCLA. It’s really expensive, the tuition hikes."

Mora’s part of a Southland activist network that wants state and federal versions of the Dream Act. The federal Dream Act that would legalize young undocumented college students and military recruits failed in Congress last year; its sponsors have reintroduced that bill.