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New York students ask Cuomo to endorse Dream Act

Students and immigration advocates rallied in Albany today in support of what is being called the New York State Dream Act. Federal legislation called The Dream Act would give permanent resident status to undocumented students and military service members brought illegally to the U.S. by their parents. However, the federal bill is currently stalled in Congress so many states have created their own. Many would like to see Governor Cuomo endorse New York's version.

Advocates say New York has always led the way when it comes to immigration law and it should continue to do. Thirteen states, including New York, allow unauthorized immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates. Only three states - Texas, New Mexico and California - allow them government tuition aid. In addition to allowing students to go to school, today's rally attendants would like to see New York assist with educational funding as well. New York's Dream Fund legislation would ensure that all students, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, have access to public and private tuition assistance in New York.

Proponents of the legislation, like The New York Immigration Coalition, say there are more than 4 million immigrants in New York so the proposed bill just makes economic sense. Touted as an investment in intellectual capital, we know that people with a bachelor's degree earn more, on average, than those with a high school diploma. This legislation would give young people a chance to make it at least into the middle class.

New York's Dream Act would allow children, who were brought here by their parents, a boost onto a path of legal immigrant status, education and productive citizenship.

Source: capitalnewyork.com, "Petitioning Cuomo, at City Hall, to get involved in the Dream Act in Albany," Elizabeth Gohnzalez, March 21, 2012

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