On Saturday, Oct. 8, Gov. Jerry Brown on signed the California Dream Act, authored by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), allowing illegal immigrants access to state financial aid at public universities and community colleges.
Brown also signed AB 620 by Assemblymember Marty Block (D- San Diego). Equality California explains the bill this way:
At California’s public colleges and universities, LGBT students don’t always get the support they need. To meet the needs of LGBT students, our state’s schools must provide additional campus services and resources. AB 620 would require public colleges and universities to improve the campus climate for LGBT students by providing access to student services and by adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to campus anti-discrimination policies.
EQCA Executive Director Roland Palencia has not yet commented on the bill becoming law, nor how or if the bill might have any impact on the attempt to place a referendum on the Nov. 2012 ballot to repeal the California FAIR Education Act. The StopSB48 campaign must present their signatures to the Secretary of State on Wednesday, Oct. 12 for verification. According to the Watchmen On The Wall page on the Family Research Council website – StopSB48 appears to still be counting on churches to turn out 750,000 errorless petitions by Monday, Oct. 10.
There has been considerable confusion over whether the STOPSB48 campaign is holding their information close to the vest and may actually have enough valid signatures. In that case, AB 620 may help their effort in November. However, if the outdated frontpage of STOPSB48 coalition partner the Traditional Values Coalition is any indication – STOPSB48 has failed to collect enough signatures.
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, state Republicans and conservative groups plan to campaign for a referendum to repeal the Dream Act.
The Times reports:
“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a statement. “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”
Beginning in 2013, illegal immigrants accepted by state universities may receive assistance from Cal-Grants, a public program that last year provided aid to more than 370,000 low-income students.
The new law also makes students who are not legally in the country eligible for institutional grants while attending the University of California and California State University systems. And it permits them to obtain fee waivers in the community college system.
Students must graduate from a California high school after attending school in the state for at least three years and must affirm that they are in the process of applying to legalize their immigration status. They also must show financial need and meet academic standards…..
“It’s morally wrong,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino). “We have just created a new entitlement that is going to cause tens of thousands of people to come here illegally from all over the world.”
Donnelly said he plans a referendum drive to repeal the legislation and believes the issue will hurt Democrats in next year’s elections.
Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) said Brown’s signature “absolutely sends the wrong message. It says if you violate the law, it’s OK.”
Also opposed is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group pressing for a crackdown on illegal arrivals. Spokeswoman Kristen Williamson called the bill “a reckless use of taxpayer money” at a time when the state is broke, has raised tuition and has cut many services to legal residents.