California lawmaker seeks repeal of his state's Dream Act
The law, starting in 2013, will allow children of illegal immigrants to receive state funds to attend schools like UCLA.
December 20th, 2011
02:37 PM ET

California lawmaker seeks repeal of his state's Dream Act

A Republican California Assemblyman is trying to repeal his state's Dream Act, which would give children of illegal immigrants who have graduated high school access to state college grants starting in 2013.

In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California Dream Act, which would set aside up to $65 million for the children of illegal immigrants who qualify. The legislation differs from a proposed federal bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors - or DREAM - Act, which would give children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship through military service or college education.

“This is absolute sheer insanity,” said Tim Donnelly, the California Assemblyman. “Nobody is as nuts as California."

Donnelly is trying to gather enough signatures on a petition to get a repeal of the law on the November ballot before the legislation goes into effect in 2013.

He said his opposition is based on economics. “We’re broke,” Donnelly said.

Click the audio player to hear more from CNN Radio's Jim Roope:

California is battling a budget deficit. To make things worse, state revenues fell short the last few months triggering automatic cuts to things such as education and health care.

“We simply don’t have the money,” Donnelly said.

The California Dream Act was authored by State Democratic Assemblyman Gil Cedillo. He’s been trying to get the legislation passed since 2006.

“Regardless of whenever they came, regardless of however they got here, it’s a very core American value that we do not punish children for the acts of their parents,” Cedillo said. “When they become job ready, are they going to be ready to lead us into the future and be productive and constructive?”

Cedillo said California can’t afford not to make state money available to the children of illegal immigrants who want to attend college.

Justino Mora, 22, came to the United States from Mexico with his mother when he was 11 years old. He’s studying political science at UCLA but doesn’t know how long the money he’s saved from working since high school graduation will hold out. The Dream Act, he said, is a dream come true.

“It means the world to me,” Mora said.  "I’m the second in my family to graduate high school and could be the first to graduate college."

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soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. DJ

    My parents were not illegal so were is my free college money?

    December 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter than DJ

      Hey genius, that money is already there

      December 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAC

      Your check will be in the mail as soon as you learn how to spell "where".

      December 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Yoder

      @smarterthandj There are only 4 schools that the government will completely subsidize. I will give you the chance to exercise your brain to think of them.

      December 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael Tiberius

    It's a big price tag, but the more kids (that can become citizens) that go to college and then become useful to the economy (and not just sucking off the teat) makes it worth it. We need a bigger educated and technical workforce, and something like this makes college more appeasing to more people

    December 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lowell

      The LIBERAL road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Yoder

      Besides a college education does not necessarily mean that they are productive citizens. Look at OWS.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. max

    this whole illegal/legal distinction is bunk. once people are hear they arent going back. some people have this dream that we can deport, etc. these folks are here to stay. they will live, work and die here. their children are born here and become citizens.

    may as well fight against the sun rising.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack 63

      We should send you back with them for giving up. I won't! Illeagal is just that, send every last one of them back kids and all and let thier country educate them. You think Mexico doesn't have an educational system? I report every illegal I find and they do get deported. If you won't stand and defend what you have you don't deserve what you have.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • max

      and where are you exactly going to send me back to? dumbaxx

      December 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hyperactive216

      You can go with the illegals max. Thats where cowards need to go.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gera

    You all know this is not about money but about illegals, give these kids a break, they deserve to succeed in life, send them to college, please

    December 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      gera..... My whole family fought in wars for America since coming here in the early 1800's, I still have $40,000 in student loans to pay and the government wont help me get my degree, but let someone come in here illegally and not pay into the tax system by working under the table and then hand them a free college educatioon? that isrediculous, up to high school yes, after that you are on your own like the rest of us, no special treatment

      December 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sokalsmiley


      It's about both. We don't have the money, and when we did, we didn't give it to the childern with parents here legally. We do need to do a better job of educating the youth for the future, but how about we start with our own childern, before we start rewarding those who break the law by educating their childern for free. Childern of illegal immigrants can get college money the same way childern of legal citizens get money for college, join the military. It speeds up their citizen applications and they earn money for college.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steddie

    im a 26 year old military spouse recently stationed in san diego. i can not get one dime of financial aid nor can i get any military funds. i decided to take some coursses at the community college and they booted me out saying the whole semester would be canceled. somethings wrong here

    December 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • yaledelay

      coursses – I am going to guess you didn't take Spelling 101.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Str8Vision

    Like it or not, If a child is born on American soil they are, by federal law, an American citizen. All American citizens should have equal educational opportunities discrimination. If the child was not born here but is here illegally then they should be deported immediately and have no right to any taxpayer assistance.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • the_dude

      You losers voted in Jerry Brown. Now lie in the bed you have made and stop complaining. I hope Jerry brown gives away every last tax dollar from California to every illegal family in the world and California comes crashing down in a heap. It would take something extremely drastic for the people to do anything about it. Jerry is what you wanted so why complain now?

      December 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • AZTech711

      I agree that all people born on US soil is considered a US citizen. So why are they getting special grants unlike than the rest of us "US citizens". They should and do have all the rights to apply (and subsequently, be denied) for normal grants and loans. Why are these Citizens better than the rest of the citizens of the US? This is the definition of reverse discrimination.

      December 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • pogojo

      the 14th was not intended for illegals, it was for children of slaves after the civil war, it was never ment for illegals, the federalist papers state what the intention of the 14th was

      December 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Luis

    Is proved that bringing the ilegal people from the shadowns are going to bring a better economy for every one in the states, beginnig in the farms and taxes, where is broken and collaps...and for other side keep them in the shadows is brake a biblical rule that is the rigth for life....make miserable their lifes is not the solution and we seeing this since arizona....we can not expulse 12 million, and is so long time that are part of our star to be realistic in this item....

    December 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES

      English please....

      December 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art


      December 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hyperactive216

      get out of here luis, post again so we can trace you.

      December 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DonHonda

    AB 131 is against the CA Education Code and is therefore, Illegal: It is part of the current Donahoe Higher Education Act for California.

    In-state tuition to Illegals is against Federal Law:

    This just in: AB 131 will now cost $65 Million and WILL HURT Legal Californian Residents in receiving their aid, by the bi-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office:

    December 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ellen in CA

    This proves we have a governor who is out of touch with those who elected him. He is determined to reward bad behavior. If you enjoy people's bad behavior, reward it to receive more of it. If you prefer good behavior, reward that and you will receive more of it. This is true, and anyone with half a brain should be able to understand this concept.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    gera..... My whole family fought in wars for America since coming here in the early 1800's, I still have $40,000 in student loans to pay and the government wont help me get my degree, but let someone come in here illegally and not pay into the tax system by working under the table and then hand them a free college educatioon? that isrediculous, up to high school yes, after that you are on your own like the rest of us, no special treatment

    December 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chuck

    I agree, my parents were not illegal so wheres my money for school,???? double standards for americans who were born here. Why dont we take care of ourselves first before other countrys? Seems like if your born here and have a regular job and pay taxes etc, you dont qualify for college aid, but if you come here illegally and broke, you do. Not fair and not what this country is about!!!

    December 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Vmann

    The state is BROKE... Maybe they should help fund American children that cant afford college. Since it is our American Tax money anyway.. It should not be given to people that entered our country illegaly. Follow the leag process of entering this great country just like all the immigrants befor you.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sdnativegirl

    1. I am a native Californian, and live in San Diego. I am all for making more money available for college level education. However, I would prefer that we support the children of legal citizens who have paid their taxes to support such funding.
    2. An "act" such as this one is exactly why so many illegals come to the US – because we give completely free handouts! This will most likely attract even more illegal immigrants to our borders.
    3. I am a single mother (without alimony or child support) – so, should I also expect some kind of "act" that will support my child and her education? Just because I'm part of some "special" group? I'm not going to hold my breath. Even though I struggle, save and teach a strong work ethic to my daughter, I know no one is going to come along and take care of me; least of all the government. Why should I support taking care of others who do not work as hard as I do?
    4. Sigh, maybe it's time I give up my citizenship. Maybe as an illegal, I'll be able to afford sending my daughter to college.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john reyes

    With the DREAM Act I can finish my college studies, become a lawyer, get my US citizenship and will tell my children and their children to become lawyers and sue every republican they can find in the US. That party is a party of hate.

    December 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sokalsmiley

      Mr. Reyes,
      First, I want to state I am a registered Democrate who did NOT vote for Brown; Second, Republicans are not the party of hate, but of greed, but that is besides the point. The point is we don't have the money to fund education from k-12 let alone provide money for any college education, including the childern of people who couldn't enter this country legally. Tell me why you should get a free college education while I have to work two jobs to pay for mine? Do you think because you and your parents broke the law, you should be rewarded or is it because you think you are owed something?

      December 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      To John Reyes. CAN YOU ANSWER VSTEPHENS1213 QUESTION PLEASE? Yeah, that's right you can't! IDIOT!

      December 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. vstephens1213

    This has nothing to do with they are here legally or not. Also, CA has more than just mexican immigrants. So that's not the issue either. The issue is that the state is so broke we have had to get IOU's issues for tax refunds, my childrens school district is so broke I have to supply tissues and papertowles for the classroom. The firestations are being shut down. If we don't have enough money for our basic infrastructure- where are we getting this money to "set aside"?

    December 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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