Even though the Dream Act failed in the Senate and is not likely to come up in the near future with Republicans taking the House, young proponents of the law are thinking that California could be one of the ripe states to pass provisions in the spirit of the shot-down federal bill.
"With the highest number of undocumented young people in the nation, California is already the epicenter for student advocacy on the issue and for legal breakthroughs granting them in-state tuition. Now the students- and their supporters- say they will train their sights on electoral change and a state legislative effort to give them access to college financial aid, which appears likely to succeed under newly elected Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown," the Los Angeles Times reports.
With Governor-elect Jerry Brown set to soon take the reins from Arnold Schwarzenegger, California could become just the right place for Dream Act advocates to sow their initial seeds of a nationwide, youth-led grassroots campaign that could possibly spread beyond the state. As the Times notes in the article, Jerry Brown could play a pivotal role in legislation making it easier for illegal immigrants to attend school in California, saying that he would support state financial aid for the children of illegal immigrants attending local colleges.
Brown said at a debate between him and former challenger Meg Whitman, that he would support legislation granting young illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship and would also approve legislation that would allow those same young people access to a pool of financial aid that would be utilized for attending schools in the state's higher education system. Despite California facing years of crippling deficits, Brown also made it known earlier this year that he believes that the state can afford to give financial aid to illegal immigrants who desire to attend school in the Golden State.
"We have enough wealth to continue to have a great university and get every kid into this school that can qualify. Now when I say every young man and young woman, I mean everyone-whether they are documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here. And that will be one of the first bills I sign," Brown said to UCLA students at a rally on the college campus back in October of this year alongside former President Bill Clinton.
On a similar note, the California Supreme Court unanimously upheld that illegal immigrants can continue to receive in-state tuition at colleges all throughout the state. With Brown signing a bill that would grant financial aid to illegal immigrants in the college system, Brown would place yet another building block for them to stay in the state with legislation similar to the Dream Act.
Currently, the states with the largest immigrant populations (California, Texas, New York, and Illinois) allow for illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements. Maryland, with a bill set to be introduced by State Senator Rich Madaleno in January, will possibly join these states to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria.
With Democratic legislators in California comfortably in power, one can expect legislation that allows illegal immigrants to receive financial aid to glide through the state's legislative chambers as it has before. Only this time, it would prove victorious, since it would probably not be vetoed as it had before under Governor Schwarzenegger.