Whether someone is an American citizen or not does not matter in the Empire State when it comes to student aid eligibility.
Undocumented immigrants will now be eligible for financial aid for sending their children to college, thanks to New York’s Dream Act. The bill passed this week 40-20 in the state’s Senate and 90-37 in its House of Representatives.
The bill’s purpose is to make it easier for people who grew up in New York to afford college tuition — but residency status is not a prerequisite for qualifying.
So people here illegally will now be able to benefit.
Many New York lawmakers are celebrating it. Democrat Carmen De La Rosa, a Manhattan assemblywoman, argued the bill serves “as a symbol that [dreamers] will be guaranteed an education and that the door for higher education is open to all children in New York State.”
Nationwide, there’s more of a mixed reaction. Among those in opposition to the proposal is student Julia Boudreau of The King’s College.
She gave an honest reason for her opposition to the new law during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Thursday night.
“I know so many people who have sacrificed so much to go to college,” she said. “I have given up eight years to dedicate my next eight years to the military, and to pay for college, and I’ve taken out loans to pay for the rest. And I feel as though — while we need certainly to be sensitive to the needs of others, and take care of immigration reform … we also have so many people who are struggling to pay for college here, and this is bad legislation.”
— RAY (@raybae689) January 24, 2019
Recent events in New York state government is making me seriously consider my long-term residence in my hometown. The dreamer act infuriates me, and the abortion law sickens me.
— Sam Adams (@TheWedge716) January 25, 2019
Host Laura Ingraham said there were bigger problems in the city worth focusing on rather than subsidizing illegal immigrants.
“There’s a lot of problems in New York,” she said. “There’s a lot of homeless problems, a lot of veterans on the street. You still have a lot of trash on the street and a lot of filth on the street — people shooting up in the alleyway. Doesn’t New York have [its hands full] with the problems that are already there?”
Yet Nomiki Konst, a candidate for the role of New York City public advocate, disagreed with that logic. She said non-legal resident students should be eligible to receive in-state tuition benefits as native-born citizens.
“Well, the entire budget of New York state is $168 billion. Dreamers contribute $115 million to state and local economies, and this bill will only cost $27 million,” she said.
“These are people who pay taxes, contribute to the economy. Some of them are citizens, they are dreamers, children of undocumented people in New York, who have been paying taxes and deserve the same privileges and rights that we have just by being in the right area, born in the right area,” she added.
Check out the segment from “The Ingraham Angle” below:
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.