The California Legislature is poised to pass a law that would allow illegal immigrants to receive state-financed aid for college. Known as the California Dream Act, the bill underscores the ways states are navigating their own way through controversial immigration issues, as the Obama administration has been unable to make headway on plans for an overhaul of immigration laws.
While the state law would do nothing to provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, it would provide them with more education benefits than they have in any other state. Advocates of the legislation say it would also send a powerful message to President Obama and Congress, forcing them to reconcile a patchwork of state laws that contradict one another.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said during his campaign last fall that he would support such a law and signed legislation this summer that gave illegal immigrants access to privately financed state scholarships and other aid. While he has not publicly said that he would sign this second measure, Mr. Brown’s staff members have been working with legislators to amend the bill in order to trim some costs.
The Democratic-controlled Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill on Wednesday along a party-line vote. The amended bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled State Assembly in the next week.
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