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California governor passes law allowing aid for illegal immigrants

December 8th, 2011

To many, the United States is commonly known as the land of opportunity.

It contains 50 states that are distinct in their own way, but perhaps none are more distinguishable than California.

The largest and most diverse in population, it has led our nation with its many innovations.

Once again, it did not fail to break form by introducing yet another first.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, California Gov. Jerry Brown successfully signed the California DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act into law.

This will enable youth students in the state,  who are undocumented immigrants, the ability to attend state schools while receiving state aid.

Brown shot down the notion from critics that he was introducing a form of affirmative action, claiming that it “ducked a costly legal battle,” as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The law is not technically new because it is an addition to another one established in July 2011.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the law is scheduled to take effect as of Jan. 1, 2013. The actual figures for California’s DREAM Act are quite decisive.

It has been estimated by the California Department of Finance that there would be some 2,500 students eligible for these grants.  With a program that is subsidized around $1.4 billion, the bill for this program is expected to cost nearly $14.5 million.

Aside from the economic citations (although not disregarding), the law has and is expected to bring about both praise and controversy.

The bill was initially shot down last year, and it draws considerable attention due to California’s widespread diversity throughout the state, including a large population of Hispanics.  

The 2010 U.S. census found around 37.6 percent of the population in California was Hispanic.

The state’s other youthful demographics have expressed their distaste with the bill.

Indeed, the same day the bill was signed into law, protest broke out at the University of California, Berkley, according to The New York Times.

While California is the first state to pass legislation pertaining to the immigrant education concern, it is not the only state to reevaluate the matter.

In both Alabama and Illinois, the state governments sought to face their own immigrant situations.

Alabama passed legislation to check the legality of public school students.

In Illinois, the state passed a law similar to the California law.

Although these two states acted differently in their approach to the immigration issue, they nevertheless demonstrate the growing significance of the matter.