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California Dreaming Act gives higher education hope to illegal aliens

The Golden State is drowning in budget shortfalls to the tune of $20 billion; Californians’ have done without pay increases, services and increased taxes, however, one sector of the state’s residents that haven’t suffered cuts are illegal aliens.

While the DREAM Act may have languished at a national level, it is still on this week’s to do list for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. California’s very own Dream Act comes in the form of Senate Bill 1460 and Assembly Bill 1413 both were approved by the state legislature and are ready for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signature.

California AB 1413 and SB 1460 aka “The Dream Act” – would divert financial aid away from legal California residents and give assistance to illegal aliens. Critics argue the new benefit will only offer more incentives to break the U.S. immigration law.

Early cost estimates of the Dream Act weigh in the neighborhood of $40 million. The bill calls for the state to provide benefits to assist illegal aliens who attend California colleges. Critics argue that this assistance will add to the estimated $90 million a year California taxpayers provide to give illegal aliens in-state tuition benefits.

Proponents say the legislation will help those in the country illegally be more competitive in a diverse job market. That is a true statement, except for one thing- if illegal’s graduate college they still cannot not legally get a job under federal law.

The ramifications of a Gov. Schwarzenegger signature means taxpayers will have to add more money to cover the increase in budgetary expenditures. Some benefits illegal aliens would receive include taxpayer-funded grants and other assistance to offset increasing costs of colleges in California.

The bill’s author, Gil Cedillo (D-LA) claims, “We want people to become prepared, and we want people to be good citizens,” he said defending the state’s investment in K-12 education for illegal immigrants. “We do that at a considerable cost, because we are a forward-looking state.”

According to PR Newswire, “the bill also expands the definition of who is eligible to receive in-state tuition subsidies. Currently, students must have attended three years of high school in California to qualify. Under SB 1460, anyone who completes three years of secondary school, and earns a degree, in California is eligible for in-state tuition. Secondary schools include trade and adult schools.”

The added expenses and lax enforcement have many anti-amnesty organizations upset about a state law that would encourage more illegal immigration practices. They have long contended that giving benefits for those who broke the law only leads to more law breaking.

“The California legislature continues to demonstrate its contempt for law-abiding, taxpaying Californians,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “As they put the final touches on a budget that cuts vital services and programs, illegal aliens get new rewards. The California college and university system – once the crown jewel of America’s public higher education system – has been forced to cut admissions and programs, while dramatically increasing tuition and student fees in recent years. While countless deserving students, who are legal U.S. residents, are being left out in the cold because admissions have been cut, or because they cannot afford the rising tuitions, the legislature is approving new benefits to illegal aliens,” he said.

It must be noted that Gov. Schwarzenegger has refused to sign similar legislation three times in the past. Each time the Governor noted that the state’s fiscal situation was a concern and American citizens should be the beneficiaries of state aid for college.

Since that time California’s financial house has not improved, quite the opposite. State employees have been issued furlough days, services have been trimmed in some cases to a four-day-work week and fees for government services, like vehicle registration has skyrocketed.

“We call upon Gov. Schwarzenegger to once again act as a check on a reckless and irresponsible legislature that continues to provide benefits to illegal aliens as it inflicts pain on everyone else in the state. Fiscal responsibility, not to mention basic respect for the people of California, requires that the governor veto SB 1460,” Stein finished.

During the last fiscal year, the state’s college system was forced to cut nearly $565 million, as a result college admissions were cut by 40,000 students.

The average in-state tuition for a California State college is more than $5,000 per year. On top of this parents are told to expect semesterly increases in fees. Students also gauged for parking fees, higher student body card fees and less time in the classroom.

The crown jewel of California used to be the 10 University of California schools. In-state tuition has skyrocketed to $11,285 per year. When parents and students begin to add the other costs of college like books, supplies, and insurance the cost rises to $16,470. Of course the cost of room and board sends the tab to nearly $30,000.

According to a recently commissioned in-depth study by FAIR, California spends more than $21 billion per year on various programs and services for illegal aliens and their families. This smacks in the face of taxpaying Californian’s who must now decide what programs to cut in order to balance the $20 billion budget shortfall.

The California version of the Dream Act is on Gov. Schwarzenegger’s desk waiting for a signature, if he refuses to veto the legislation by September 30 the bill will officially become law.

The bright side for residents of the Golden State is Sacramento cannot invoke the printing money option like Washington D.C. and only time will tell if California will be the first state to file bankruptcy or possibly enter treatment for spendaholics anonymous.

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