Struggling with the Dream Act

California Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of the Dream Act has certainly received mixed reactions from the readers of the Los Angeles Times.  The bill makes it legal for the children of illegal immigrants to receive private scholarships from universities.  Note that the bill does not allocate public tax funds to these students.

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of “they should go back to their own country” arguments.  The problem with these arguments is that they fail to take into account that these children and young people are in this country through no fault of their own, many carried illegally over the border as infants.  The recent Op/Ed article in the Los Angeles Times lays out both the responses of critical readers as well as the California Board.

The board wrote:

Some will object to granting illegal immigrants benefits that they believe should be reserved for legal residents. But barring undocumented immigrants from receiving private scholarships is both hard-hearted social policy and foolish economics. Society already has invested in these students. Most of them graduated from public schools. And few are likely to return to a country they have no memory of. As long as they are here, it is just as much in society’s interests as it is in theirs that they be productive, taxpaying workers with solid educational credentials.

This is one of the more legitimate and clear arguments I saw from the readers:

What is so ‘hard hearted’ about paying your own way through college?  I did it.

Shouldn’t this money go to US citizens whose parents fell on hard times?  With the unemployment rate this state has right now, I don’t understand why we are taking that opportunity away from them.  Isn’t that ‘Hard Hearted”?


He makes a good point.  In these difficult economic times, with the California State Universities’ budgets being ripped apart, it seems strange that the legislation being focused on is tied to non-residents while a much larger demographic – resident college students – are struggling just the same.

What say you?

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