SACRAMENTO (AP) — Illegal immigrants can now apply for state-funded scholarships and aid at state universities after Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed the second half of a legislative package focused on such students.

AB131 by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is the second half of the California Dream Act. Brown signed the first half of the package in July, which approved private scholarships and loans for students who are illegal immigrants.

Under current law, illegal immigrant students who have graduated from a California high school and can prove they’re on the path to legalize their immigration status can pay resident tuition rates. The bill would allow these students to apply for state aid.

The contentious second half of the package requires that immigrant students meet the same requirements as all other students applying for financial aid at state universities but specifies that they only qualify for financial aid after all the other legal residents have applied.

“The signing of now both parts of the California Dream Act will send a message across the country that California is prepared to lead the country with a positive and productive vision for how we approach challenging issues related to immigration,” Cedillo said.

The bills are different from the federal Dream Act, which includes a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Brown says the bill expands educational opportunities for all qualified students.

“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said. “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”

Critics of the bills say it undermines immigration laws and encourages illegal immigration by granting access to state resources reserved for legal residents. Many Republican lawmakers say legal students have had their grants cut in light of recent budget cuts to higher education.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, said the bill’s passage will the biggest mistake the Democratic Party makes.

“The polling indicates that 80 to 90 percent of Californians are against this, and it crosses party lines,” Donnelly said. He said he hopes to get a ballot initiative overturning the law started as soon as the bill is officially included in state statutes.

“It is absolutely, fundamentally wrong and unfair and it is an insult to people who have worked and played by the rules, including those who have come to this country legally,” he said.

Ginny Rapini, coordinator for the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, said there should be consequences for illegal immigrants and giving them an education funded by California taxpayers isn’t fair to the legal residents who can’t afford to pay for their own tuition.

“What part of illegal do we not get? When people come here illegally they need to come here with the same rules and regulations that other people came here with,” Rapini said.

Supporters argue that children whose were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents shouldn’t be punished.

The state Department of Finance estimates that 1 percent of all Cal Grant funds, the state student financial aid program, will be affected by the legislative package when it goes into effect in January 2013. The department says that 2,500 students would qualify for aid under the bill and estimates the costs to equal $14.5 million of a $1.4 billion program.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (97)
  1. The Blogger says:

    Let the prison inmates mow the lawns & pick the grapes!

    1. johnny says:

      It seems that if you have time to apply for grants and scholarships, and then have time to apply for colleges and universities, then you have enough time to apply for U.S. citizenship. I recognize that in many parts of the country there is the serious threat of deportation, but that has been shown time and time again to apply only to those that have warrants against them. I have family that has gone through the immigration process and it does take time, it does take money, it does take effort. But they live as legal citizens and take pride in knowing that they are contributing to their societies, families, and country without mooching and taking advantage of anyone else.

  2. Jo Ann Jones says:

    What kind of governor does this and thinks that he is representing the hardworking LEGAL citizens who have been here for generations working the land, working jobs, paying taxes, voting, raising our children to believe that we live in a state that wants them to succeed? This is a slap in the face to our children. If these immigrants go through the LEGAL process to be here, and many have, then I have no problem whatsoever with affording them the same rights. However ILLEGALS should have no rights to education, medical, welfare or anything else. What is the incentive now for them to become LEGAL if everything is afforded to them? Governor Brown, I for one will not support you in office and am ashamed that you are the Governor of our state.

  3. den says:

    Common sense tells you this is wrong, wrong ,wrong. Shame on you politicians trying to gain the latino vote this way

  4. rmcsticks says:

    really you want me to PAY TAXES so you can p i ss it away, how about if I just P i ss on you BROWN, and as for you CBS really the word P I S S god grow up !

  5. Teresa Mann says:

    Lets pay for ILLEGAL’S and then educate them for a job that they can’t get because they are ILLEGAL. Come here legally then we’ll talk. We need to stop handing out things to illegal people and taking care of the people here legally and out of work. Our state would not be in the financal situation we currently find our selfs in if we would STOP SUPPORTING ILLEGALS..

  6. Me says:

    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
    Really…I could not afford college…I was born and raised here and still am not entitled to the same benefits…just f***ing WRONG!!!!!

  7. Me2 says:

    F…… unbelievable!!! American kids cant afford to go so lets pay for the ILLEGALS !! Californians dont pay attention so they snuck this one in! Why didnt this have to go to a VOTE??

  8. ihatethenannystate says:

    you can’t have police and fire protection
    you can’t have more services for the truly disabled or the elderly
    we have to cut services to american children
    you can give illegals an education

  9. Jennifer Bristol says:

    I voted for Meg Whitman.

  10. Cesar A. Cuadra says:

    Not the thoughts of a rational person making this decision, during an economical crisis!!

  11. kdm123 says:


  12. Victoria Silvester says:

    So ILLEGALS can live the California Dream while AMERICANS get shafted. I can’t believe the people of California so quickly forgot what this nutcase did the first time he was governor and actually elected him to give him another shot at destroying the state.

  13. raymond says:

    this guy was a clown and joke when govenor living in a car, and was only calif idiots that voted him back as clown. laugh everybody, laugh. the clown is still funny and a joke!

  14. TJ says:

    Let’s all just tell brown to suck it. California is it civil war time yet?

  15. TJ says:

    WE need to organize. The people need a website to go to in order to organize and take our country back. We may not be able to do it by voting if you know what I mean. WE must get started before it is too late if it is not already. THIS is just the beginning. I ask someone with good computer skills to set up a site to save America. There are a LOT of people just like US that feel the same way and if WE were to organize the enemy would not stand a chance. What do you think our founding fathers would do?

  16. TJ says:


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