Thursday, January 17, 2013

New York State Dream Act

As an immigrant to Brooklyn, New York, as the Legal Adviser for the Immigrant’s Journal Legal & Educational Fund, Inc., and as a person of color, I am appalled that the Governor of New York, Governor Cuomo and the Democrats have not passed a New York Dream Act like California.  Additionally, unlike Illinois, New York has not passed legislation granting a drivers’s license to undocumented New Yorkers.  In short, New York, need to be more immigrant friendly. If President Barrack Obama, by Executive Order did not grant Deferred Action, to high school graduates, then New York state undocumented children would not be able to get a job to pay for their college education.  New York state elected officials talk like Democrats, but legislate or don’t legislate like Republicans.

New York State DREAM Act, bill (S. 2378/ A. 2597) was introduced by Assemblyman Francisco Moya, with the strong support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. It would make New York one of just four states - the others are Texas, New Mexico, and California - to offer state financial aid to the children of immigrants.  In-state tuition has been available to New York's immigrant youth since 2002, an option available in just 11 other states. The criteria for access to state financial aid would match the strict criteria for students seeking in-state tuition.
This legislation would also give young immigrants access to a broad range of state educational opportunity programs such as:
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP);
Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP);
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP);
Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP); and
Opportunity programs available at community colleges.
The measure would also create a DREAM Fund committed to advancing the educational goals of the children of immigrants through privately-funded scholarships and broadened access to the New York State College Tuition Savings (529) Program through family tuition accounts.
The family tuition accounts would be available to anyone who provides a valid taxpayer identification number. They allow for systematic savings, making it easier for New York's hardworking immigrant families to save for their children's futures.
This bill is long overdue, whether Democrat or Republican, we urge our elected officials in Albany, to do the right thing, and help New York children.

Brian Figeroux, Esq.

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