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Immigrant rights coalition calls for governor's leadership on DREAM Act

Groups urge Cuomo to include DREAM Act in his State of the State Address

Supporters of a New York state version of the DREAM Act protest outside the Capitol earlier this year.
January 08, 2013
A 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."

  1. print email
    Immigrantion Reform
    January 08, 2013 | 03:40 PM

    A new book/ebook explains the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities: "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more." Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it paints a revealing picture of America on numerous subjects for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation's population growth and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. It identifies "foreigners" who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand.

    California and other states are now increasingly devising their own solutions to immigration reform, which has stalled in Washington. A poll shows Californians are overwhelmingly in favor of President Obama's new program granting work permits and a two-year reprieve from deportation to some young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Respondents also favor granting driver's licenses to the same group. It found that most Californians want increased border enforcement and think that local police and sheriffs should have a role in apprehending suspected illegal immigrants. However, Californians seem to be sending a message to the federal government that we should be able to find a solution to this problem, somewhere in between amnesty and deportation.

    Here's a closing quote from the book's Intro: "With all of our cultural differences though, you'll be surprised to learn how much our countriesā€"and we as human beingsā€"have in common on this little third rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is 'It's A Small World After All.' Peace."

    Lance Johnson
  2. print email
    January 09, 2013 | 12:23 PM

    Now, why should ILLEGAL ALIENS get reduced rates to attend college in NY when legal foreign students need to pay high rates? And citizens from other states? Federal law says that if a state offers education benefits to illegal aliens it needs to offer the same to US citizens regardless of their residency. If NY wants to offer illegal aliens in-state rates, then let it offer the same rate to EVERYONE.

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