SACRAMENTO, Calif. – (AP) Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill that will let students who entered the country illegally receive private financial aid at California’s public colleges, even as debate continues over a more contentious bill that would allow access to public funding.

The Democratic governor signed AB130 at Los Angeles City College. It is the first of a two-bill package referred to as the California Dream Act, which is aimed at getting financial aid for college students who entered the country illegally.

“It’s crucial that we invest in every child that lives and is born in this state. Signing this Dream Act is another piece of investment in people because people drives the culture, the economy,” Brown told a crowd of about 100 students and community leaders who gathered inside the city college’s library. “This is another piece of a very important mosaic which is a California that works for everyone.”

The governor did not address the second bill in the package, which is more contentious because it would allow illegal immigrants to receive state-funded scholarships and financial aid. That bill, AB131, is in the state Senate.

The legislative package authored by state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, differs from the federal Dream Act, which would include a path to citizenship for those bought to the country illegally as children.

Critics of the package say granting public or private financial aid to illegal immigrants will force citizens and students who are here legally to compete with them for limited resources. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said California’s public colleges and universities have already had to raise tuition fees in the face of recent budget cuts.

“Bottom line is California doesn’t have enough money to take care of its obligations to its citizens right now,” Donnelly said. “The people, who if they’re lucky enough to have jobs, certainly would like those limited resources to go to their children or grandchildren. They certainly wouldn’t want that to go to people who come here illegally.”

Cedillo said he admired the students without legal status because of the obstacles they have had to overcome. He said allowing students to qualify for private scholarships and financial aid is one step that will help them get through college.

“Public education in this great state and this great country is a great equalizer of society,” he said.

California’s community college and public universities systems support the bill, noting that it affects less than 1 percent of their student population. According to the University of California, fewer than 80 students across its system of more than 220,000 students would be affected by the bill signed Monday.

The California State University estimated that some of the 3,600 students who have permission to pay in-state tuition rates even though they lack legal documentation could be affected by the new law. The CSU system enrolls about 440,000 students.

At least one student who stands to benefit from the California Dream Act said an education will improve his perspective and quality of life even if he’ll still have trouble finding work out of college. Rigoberto Barboza, a 21-year-old from Mexico who studies sociology at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., said the new law could help him take more courses and finish sooner.

“Education is the only way to free from oppression – this oppression we illegals live with,” he said. “Education allows me to see which laws affect us and how.”

Gov. Brown Signs California Dream Act 25 July,2011KQED News Staff and Wires

  • Don

    This is a common misconception. There may be private scholarships/grants involved, but AB 130 also includes Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, and Institutional Student Aid: Student aid program administered by the attending college or university (i.e. State University Grant, UC Grant).

    I’m just setting the facts straight as the rhetoric leans towards this being NOT using PUBLIC FUNDS, while, in fact, it does. This comes directly from CA Assemblyman Gilbert
    Cedillo’s DREAM Act memos:

    And as for AB 131 only being assigned to ILLEGAL ALIENS after US citizens are handled is misleading. Lori Nehzurah, Governmental Relations staff of the California Student Aid Commission, has been misquoted in perpetuating in this matter: “On behalf of the California Student Aid Commission, I am requesting a correction to a quote attributed to me, Lori Nezhura, Legislative Director for the California Student Aid Commission, in the “Trying to Keep the Dream Alive” article posted on July 14, 2011.It is imperative that your readers be informed that the number of High School Entitlement Cal
    Grants and Transfer Entitlement Cal Grants are unlimited and available to all students meeting financial need, GPA, and other eligibility criteria. Therefore, if passed, Dream Act students will be able to receive these awards if they meet the same requirements.Conversely, the number of Competitive Cal Grants is limited. However, the bill
    stipulates that Dream Act students may only receive one of these awards provided funds remain after all eligible non-AB 540 California residents are awarded. Since approximately only 1 in 10 eligible applicants currently receive a Competitive Cal Grant, it is likely that there will be no fiscal impact to the State with respect to this particular program.”

    So, where is this money supposed to come from?

    I am now voting Republican on every issue and candidate so that this can be repealed and deportations en masse may start. We have allowed ourselves to be inundated with ILLEGAL ALIENS who take our jobs, ruined our education system by catering to them, and now, have pushed out LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and US CITIZENS from receiving their entitled share of these monies. If AB 131 passes and gets signed, I fear that many people will not wait until the next election to rectify this self-hatred Californians seem to have for themselves and their own children.

    • Dave R.

      I meant “Don”. Sorry about that!

    • jskdn

      I appreciate the link you’ve provided. I’ve posted quotes from Cedillo’s fact sheet elsewhere. Apparently so-called journalists aren’t interested. I’m not sure voting Republican will do the job. Democrats are hopeless in terms of illegal immigration enforcement but the credibility of Republicans on the issue is still open to question. We do have referendum and recall in this state. I’d like to see both used. I’m afraid the reality is direct democracy is the only hope for those in this state opposed to illegal immigration.

  • Dave R.

    Well said, do. You’ve expressed my sentiments to a tee.

    • Dave R.

      “Don”, I meant! 😉

  • maria

    Im sorry but I disagree with you guys because yes you do see more latin people working but thats because they are not out in the street begin for money Latin people are always trying to earn money one way or another.Latin people take what ever job is out in the world they are not taking no ones job!!!!! they compete with everyone just like everybody else. It my opinion it will benefit California in having more people with a higher education or degree that will mean less people in the steet. It may mean less money for a while but then during tax time evryone makes their taxes wether they are illegal or not, usually means more money for the goverment since they are illegal they usually pay back. So in my opinion if they have a higher education more pay and more money for the goverment during tax time ?

  • Mary T

    Dear Mr. Barboza, you stated that the new law could help you take more courses and finish sooner.

    “Education is the only way to free from oppression – this oppression we illegals live with,” he said. “Education allows me to see which laws affect us and how.”
    Perhaps you should fight the oppression and corruption in Mexico so that all Mexican citizens can enjoy an education in Mexico. The Laws of the United States you spoke of apparently have no meaning for you as you choose to disregard the ones that do not benefit you and perhaps that is the key to all the corruption and oppression at home in Mexico. Go Home, clean up your house, clean it up for your children and grandchildren. You are an uninvited and ungrateful guest in our home and you have overstayed your welcome.

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