Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 10/10/2011 04:55:21 PM PDT

California Dream Act AB 131

AUTHOR: Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles

WHAT IT DOES: Allows undocumented students in the state’s public colleges and universities, who meet in-state tuition requirements, to apply for state financial aid. AB 131 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

A PACKAGE: AB 131 is the second of a two-bill package referred to as the California Dream Act. The first bill, AB 130, allows undocumented students access to financial aid from private donations to public colleges and universities. Scholarships become available Jan. 1, 2012.

REQUIREMENTS: Students are required to have attended high school for three academic years; must register or be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university; and must pledge through an affidavit to apply for legal residency as soon as possible.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the California Dream Act over the weekend sparked an immediate backlash from opponents in San Bernardino County on Monday seeking to overturn the new law that provides state financial aid to undocumented college students.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Claremont-based anti-illegal immigration activist Raymond Herrera plan to initiate two separate efforts to overturn the act, which Brown signed into law on Saturday.

Donnelly, R-Hesperia, said he expects to file immediately after A.B. 131 is chaptered this week.

Herrera said his group – We the People, California’s Crusader – will initiate not only a referendum, but a recall effort against Gov. Jerry Brown and a voter registration campaign.
Tim Donnelly

A.B. 131 provides undocumented students in California who meet in-state tuition requirements the opportunity to apply for public financial aid to help pay for college.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, said there’s about $20 million to $35 million available for financial aid for the students – about 1 percent of the $3.5 billion in funds set aside for students in public education.

But opponents said the bill disenfranchises legal resident students at a time of deep fiscal difficulty for the state.

“We have 2.5 million people out of work in California,” Donnelly said. “You would think our priority would be to get these folks back to work Why would we spend any resources for people who are here in the country illegally.”

Herrera called the plan “bad news for California.”

“Our children now have to compete for these grants against the children of illegal aliens,” said Herrera, founder and president of the anti-illegal immigration group. “When they graduate from college, they’re pitted against illegal aliens that have the same degree and it takes away the opportunity that belongs to our children.”

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