ARE Statement on the Enactment of the CA Dream Act and in Support of AB 131
August 15, 2011
“Many ‘Dreamer’ students are not aware of the true meaning of the CA Dream Act and the false promises of politicians and the media’s presentation, lead people to believe that the signing of AB 130 is the passage of the CA Dream Act and the end of their oppressive financial realities. Unfortunately, it’s a false hope because the CA Dream Act will not be completed until AB 131 is passed and signed by Gov. Brown, which would truly be a victory for the immigrant community.” —Yohana H., Undocumented Student and Student Organizer.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 130, which is only one part of the California Dream Act. Contrary to political fervor, the CA Dream Act (AB 130) is limited in that it only provides “private funding” and does not make state grants such as Cal Grants or Board of Governor Fee Waivers (BOGFW) available to students who meet AB 540 law requirements1. AB 131, however, does make Cal Grants available to AB540 students, after non-AB540 students receive Cal Grant monies. Moreover, AB 131 modifies AB 540 law requirements, to include students who have completed only one year of high school, with the other two years in secondary education. Despite the fact that AB 131 limits state financial aid for undocumented youth to only those funds remaining after all resident students have received awards, A.R.E. nevertheless supports this bill, viewing it as a step in the right direction. A.R.E. strongly believes that undocumented youth should not be the last in line to benefit from these funds. We believe that education is a fundamental human right and we will continue to struggle until educational opportunities at all levels become a reality for all students, regardless of citizenship status. A.R.E. recognizes the efforts of Assemblyman Gil Cedillo for his tireless work in support of higher education for undocumented youth, and Governor Jerry Brown for signing AB 130, but since there is no guarantee that universities or funders will oblige legislation, it is essential that the sister bill—Assembly Bill (AB) 131 pass.
Currently, AB131 is held in ‘suspense’ in the Senate Appropriations Committee until August 26th. The Legislature has until September 9th to pass the bill, and the Governor has until September 30th to sign it into law. Therefore, ARE will organize grassroots support with the goal of encouraging politicians in Sacramento and Governor Brown in passing AB 131; we will also educate our communities about the possibility of a real Dream legislation. Association of Raza Educators
1AB540 law covers non-resident students who have submitted an affidavit stating that they have attended a California high school for a minimum of 3 years, have earned a high school diploma or GED. To note, undocumented students make up a small fraction of students covered under AB540 law