The process to kill the California DREAM Act is off to a fast start. As he promised, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly filed referendum papers earlier this week that would effectively block A.B. 131‘s implementation until it appears on the 2012 ballot. At that time, voters can decide whether to approve or reject the new law.
Most agree that legislation to provide illegal aliens with taxpayer funded Cal Grants that make it easier as well as cheaper for them to attend California’s universities and community colleges should be decided by voters and not in smoke-filled rooms dominated by the Latino Hispanic Caucus and then forwarded to ultra-liberal governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
For the referendum to qualify for the 2012 ballot, 505,000 signatures must be collected. Donnelly projects that, because of the statewide outrage against the DREAM Act, its author Gil Cedillo and Governor Brown he will be able to get at least 1 million. In earlier years, signature gathering was a tough and expensive process. But today, with the advent of the Internet and specifically Facebook and Twitter, getting people politically active is easier than ever.
Cedillo, however, thinks Donnelly will have trouble collecting the necessary signatures. "This bill is a bill that is about California's future and bringing us together. I don't know why he wants to oppose that.” [California Assemblyman Files Referendum against California Dream Act, Sacramento Bee, October 10, 2011]
To many Californians, however, A.B. 131 is the latest—and perhaps most egregious—in the long running story for which the title could be “For Illegal Aliens, Nothing Is Ever Enough”.
First of all, thanks to A.B. 540 which has been on the books for about a decade, alien students can already attend California’s higher education institutions at the cheaper in-of-state tuition rate.
Second, tracking the history of aliens from the day they enroll in primary school until they graduate shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been spent on, as Cedillo would put it, “their future”.
For at least part of their K-12 educations, many aliens need costly ESL classes. Some require Reading Recovery or special ed instruction. Others take advantage of latch key programs, free breakfast and lunch (federal programs but still "free"). For those who get as far as their senior year—a high percentage drop out—California taxpayers have spent about $10,000 per student per year. Over the decades, the aggregate expenditure for illegal aliens is well into the billions. Read my CAPS Issues article titled California’s Education Crisis Reflects the State’s Overpopulation and Over-Immigration Crisis. But there’s more. Some illegal immigrants then take advantage of affirmative action programs to gain entry into California’s higher learning institutions. Then upon graduation, even though they may still be aliens, under certain circumstances they can and do compete with native Californians for scarce high paying jobs.
For these and other reasons, Cedillo may be surprised at how quickly within the required three month period Donnelly will acquire the necessary signatures.
As I pointed out in my August blog, alien students have other options including the well regarded University of Mexico. My advice to them: Go home, attend the University of Mexico and remain in your native country which according to the New York Times, has a stronger economy than at any time in its history. [Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North, by Damien Cave, New York Times, July 6, 2011]