By Adam Weintraub Associated Press
Posted: 06/01/2011 12:20:01 PM PDT

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers voted Wednesday to open the door to state-funded financial aid for immigrant college students who entered the United States illegally.

The state Assembly approved AB 131, part of the California Dream Act, on a 46-25 party line vote. It now goes to the Senate.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Los Angeles Democrat, has introduced similar legislation each year since 2005 only to see it vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, made a campaign pledge last year to sign it.

“I ask you to do what is justified and fair,” Cedillo said during a short floor debate. “This is in the best interests of the state of California” and brings the state’s law in line with those of the federal government, he said.

Although Cedillo’s two-bill package has a similar name, it differs from the federal Dream Act, which would include a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally if they attend school or serve in the military.

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