Immigration rights activists are applauding Gov. Jerry Brown for signing three immigration reform bills.
The bills include legislation creating the State Dream Loan Program, which will provide $9.2 million for state public universities to administer loans to undocumented students.
“I think the greatest benefit for myself would be that I can make a single payment towards my tuition,” said Oswaldo Hernandez, an undocumented student working towards his master’s in education at California State University, Sacramento. Because of his immigration status, he is ineligible for federal financial assistance and most private loans.
“My first few semesters I had to work grave yard and then mornings while being a full-time student,” Hernandez said. He will have access to the new loan program.
Another bill signed by Brown, Senate Bill 1159, will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for professional state licenses to work as doctors, dentists, nurses and in other professions. Brown also has signed legislation allocating $3 million for non-profit organizations to legally represent minors in their deportation cases. The legislation is a response to the surge in the number of unaccompanied Central American children arriving on the U.S.-Mexico border,
“I think Gov. Brown has been an active participant as it relates to taking leadership on immigrant issues in the state,” said Ronald Coleman of the California Immigrant Policy Center. “[Immigration] advocates and the governor haven’t always agreed but I think the governor has always shown good intent to make sure we can do the right things to meet the needs of our state residents.”
Taking on immigration issues is nothing new for the governor. In 2011, Brown signed the California Dream Act into law, allowing undocumented children brought into the U.S. under the age of 16 to apply for student financial aid.
Last year, Brown also approved a controversial bill that will grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Opponents say these new laws will attract more immigrants to unlawfully cross the border and use California resources.
Source: News10 ABC