A hotly debated bill regarding the children of undocumented immigrants passed the New York State Assembly floor by a vote of 138 to 3 on May 2. The bill, also known as the DREAM Fund, enables these children to receive funds for education even though they may not have legal U.S. citizenship in the country.
According to the Saugerties Post Star, the state’s Chairman, Felix Ortiz, is happy the bill passed.
“As a state built by immigrants, New York must accommodate those who make diligent sacrifices to work toward a better life and thus a better economy. The talent and the will of immigrants must be tapped into by providing the resources they need to become successful” Ortiz told the Post Star.
The New York Daily News reported that the bill’s primary sponsor, Assemblyman Francisco Moya, said the bill will open up a pathway to children who would have otherwise not been able to afford a college education.
The bill is one of the first steps toward the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act. Although the DREAM Act has been turned down by the state Senate and in Congress, the approval of the New York bill is still a progressive step.
The DREAM Act, on the national level, has so far failed to win approval in either the state Senate or Assembly. Several variations of a broader version of the bill are being debated in Washington. According to The Washington Post, one version of the bill put forward by Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been garnering some attention from both Republicans and Democrats in recent weeks.
However, this has been met with skepticism from both sides.
In keeping with the spirit of the original DREAM Act, Rubio would like to make it possible for undocumented children who have no choice in the matter to have a variety of pathways to obtain U.S. citizenship. According to The Washington Post, Rubio’s press secretary Alex Conant said, “Senator Rubio is working in good faith on legislation that can win bipartisan support and help undocumented kids who want to join the military or pursue higher education.”