Supporters of a New York state version of the DREAM Act protest outside the Capitol earlier this year.
January 08, 2013A coalition of prominent immigrant advocacy, labor, education; community and faith-based organizations has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking for his support in extending the state's tuition-assistance program (TAP) to qualified, undocumented students in New York.
The letter specifically asks the governor to announce his support for the TAP expansion in his State-of-the-State speech on Wednesday.
"In the last several years, Texas, New Mexico and California have passed state level Dream Acts permitting their undocumented students to apply for state-based financial aid," the letter states. "Adopting similar policy in New York would provide more academically qualified students, who already reside here, the opportunity to earn a college degree. They, in turn, will contribute to the state's economy by earning more and paying higher taxes."
Coalition members noted that while some legislators, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, have already shown support for an expansion of TAP to qualified students regardless of immigration status, they are urging the governor to help lead on this issue.
"With President Obama engaging a national conversation on immigration reform, we must move swiftly and strongly as a progressive state," said Assemblyman Francisco Moya, D-Queens. "By including the New York State DREAM Act in his State-of-the-State and making it a priority for this session, Governor Cuomo has the opportunity to not only show his commitment to helping young immigrant youth pursue their American dream, but his commitment to keeping New York the progressive leader in this nation."