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You’ll hear from major immigration reform groups, mainstream media outlets and from Governor Jerry Brown that he signed the “California DREAM Act” into law yesterday.
Brown signed into law AB-130 yesterday, which gives undocumented students in California access to private funding for college. Here’s a newsflash: undocumented students in California have had access to private funding for a long time. Thousands of students at major universities across the state have gone through the system with private funds from private donors. The students at community colleges and state universities have had little to no access to private funding and are most unlikely to receive any help from AB-130. In other words, the bill does not do anything new and does not compel any institution to do anything different.
It’s disingenuous to call this grandstanding “progress” let alone a victory of any kind. The REAL California DREAM Act — AB-131 — is sitting in committee. AB-131 would provide undocumented AB-540 students in California access to state financial aid. Brown does not want to sign it. The Democrats have weakened it over the years. And California immigration advocacy groups are too meek to take on the structures that are failing us. Instead, they are telling us to be quiet and working actively to silence our voices.
Any Dreamers in California who have taken a stand against such grandstanding are castigated and demarcated as trouble-makers. Some of us have left the state to pursue higher education elsewhere. The lies continue to pile up as the state, which is at the top in prison spending, struggles to provide basic education to everyone while hiking tuition each year. And California Dreamers keep dreaming for a day when they have real leadership and real change.