New York to offer financial aid, scholarships to undocumented immigrants

New York to offer financial aid, scholarships to undocumented immigrants
© Greg Nash

The New York state Senate passed a statewide version of the Dream Act on Thursday, guaranteeing immigrants without legal status access to financial aid and scholarships in the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has indicated his support for the bill, and said in a statement earlier this week that he looked forward to "finally" signing the bill into law under state Democrats' newfound control of the legislature.

ADVERTISEMENT

"As a key part of our Justice Agenda, we look forward to finally making it law for all New Yorkers this year, for Senator Peralta and the Dreamers," Cuomo's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The bill will affect roughly 146,000 New York residents, according to The New York Times, who have been brought up in state schools but due to their immigration status were not previously eligible for programs providing financial aid for higher education.

“These young undocumented immigrants will work, they will pay taxes, they will buy products, and the greater earning capacity they have the more taxes they will pay,” Democratic State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda, a supporter of the bill, told the Times.

“This is one piece of legislation where we must get beyond the anti-immigration fervor created by President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE and see the benefits educating these young people has for our state," he added.

Republicans in the state told the Times that the bill would take necessary financial resources away from naturalized U.S. citizens.

“How am I supposed to tell families in my Senate district that adequate state aid to help afford college isn’t available for them, but it is available for others who are in this country illegally?" asked State Sen. James Seward (R), according to the Times.

New York's passage of the Dream Act comes as the president's battle with Congress over funding for his plans to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border drags on into its second month.