May 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized

State DREAM Act passes

A bill that makes undocumented students in Connecticut eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges was passed Tuesday.

The state Senate approved the bill, a statewide version of the national DREAM Act that failed to pass Congress in December, by a vote of 21 to 14 over an eight-hour Republican filibuster, the Connecticut Mirror reported. In a press release, Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the bill as “common sense” and said he would sign it into law.

“At a time when we need to be helping our state’s young men and women prepare for an ever-changing economy and compete with their counterparts in China, Japan and elsewhere, helping to make a college degree more accessible and affordable for those students who choose to pursue one is critically important,” Malloy said in the release.

Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, citing its uncertain impact on the competition for spots in the state’s higher education system.

“Remember folks, when someone gets in, someone gets denied,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (R-Norwalk) said when the bill passed the House of Representatives 77 to 63, according to the Mirror.

The state legislature passed a similar bill in 2007, but Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed it. In her veto message, Rell argued that the bill would do nothing to address the underlying legal problems with students’ immigration status and that Connecticut should wait for federal immigration reform before enacting its own in-state tuition law. Furthermore, she argued, the bill would encourage circumvention of federal immigration law.

Unlike in-state tuition laws in the 12 other states that have them, the Connecticut bill requires students to have completed four years of high school in the state.

  • DamBa

    This law and all of the other state laws that give incentives, or disincentives, to illegal immigrant students, or other illegal immigrants, may end up being unconstitutional. It is a big issue, going to the heart of state vs federal jusridiction. These are some of the constitutional roadblocks:

    1. The California proposition 187 ruling (by 9th circuit federal court a few years ago) equated the taking away of taxpayer services (disincentives, such as stopping emergency medicaid) from illegal immigrants as an attempt to regulate immigration, which the state does not have authority over. On the opposite end of that same ‘spectrum of law’ interpretation is the ‘giving of incentives’ to illegal immigrants to contnue their illegal residency (dream acts, driver’s license, not impounding cars, etc), so that would also be ruled as unconstitutional (per 187).

    2. Furthermore, there is an issue with a government ‘aiding and abeting’ an unlawful behavior.

    3. Also, a polling of this illegal immigrant population about whether they would vote Democrat, Republican or Independent, if they were citizens, most likey would show that they would overwhelmingly vote Democrat, so, since almost all of the incentive bills are introduced by Democrats, then these bill could be ruled unconsititutional–as being self-aggrandizing by the proponents, under the ninth admendment, and also there are some issues with federal voting laws.

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