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It’s baaaack: The DREAM Act returns

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 27, 2009 11:36 AM

The shamnesty crowd is ready to roll again. The illegal alien college tuition discount bill known as the “DREAM Act” has been reintroduced — with bipartisan support, as usual:

Congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), announced the reintroduction today of the DREAM Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation will restore the States’ rights to determine residency requirements for higher education benefits – giving states the option to provide in-state tuition. The American DREAM Act seeks to facilitate access to postsecondary educational opportunities for immigrant students in the United States who currently face barriers in pursuing a college education.

Reminder:

Last year, the DREAM Act fell eight votes short of cloture in the Senate (see Donny’s detailed post for more). As with several other pieces of legislation in the 111th Congress, however, this time around the bill has a supporter in the White House. President Barack Obama helped to pass similar legislation while in the Illinois state legislature, and has voiced support for the federal legislation on the campaign trail.

Critics contend the legislation would spend federal money on undocumented immigrants at the expense of American citizens, and that the bill would encourage illegal immigration. They also argue that citizens and residents would be forced to compete with undocumented immigrants for spots in college and university classes.

Of course they would. DREAM is the camel’s nose under the comprehensive shamnesty tent. This assessment of the previous DREAM legislation sponsored by GOP Sen. Hatch in 2003 is exactly right:

“This bill is a crass political calculation aimed at selling an amnesty disguised as an educational initiative,” charged Dan Stein, FAIR’s Executive Director. Stein noted that Democrats have already publicly stated that the DREAM act is just the beginning of a larger amnesty bidding war, and the bill will be used as a vehicle to extend amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

Stein noted that since the number of slots at universities is fixed and tuition dollars are short, that for every illegal alien admitted an American student, or legal resident was being turned away. “This massive give-away of higher education to illegal aliens comes at a time when every state university system is raising tuition and cutting education benefits,” Stein continued.

Even more so today.

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One other reminder: Recall that last fall, a California court ruled that the state’s version of the DREAM Act conflicted with federal immigration law.

A state appellate court has put a financial cloud over the future of tens of thousands of undocumented California college students, saying a state law that grants them the same heavily subsidized tuition rate that is given to resident students is in conflict with federal law.
In a ruling reached Monday, the state Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s decision that there were no substantial legal issues and sent the case back to the Yolo County Superior Court for trial.
“It has a huge impact,” said Kris Kobach, an attorney for the plaintiffs and a law professor at the University Missouri at Kansas City. “This is going to bring a halt to the law that has been giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.”

He said it is a big win for California taxpayers who have been subsidizing education for undocumented immigrants.

The suit was filed in 2005 by out-of-state students attending California colleges. They challenged the state’s practice of allowing illegal immigrants to pay significantly lower tuition than they pay at the University of California, the California State University and the California Community Colleges.
UC charges out-of-state students nearly $18,000 a year more than it charges resident and undocumented students who graduated from California high schools. At CSU, out-of-state students pay about $8,000 more. And at the state’s 110 community colleges, they pay an average of about $160 a unit instead of $20 per unit – or $1,920 for a full load instead of $240.

The suit was dismissed by the Yolo County Superior Court in 2006, setting up the appeal.
On Monday, three justices of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said that a 2001 state law, AB540, conflicts with federal law. The state law provides the benefit of in-state tuition to undocumented students while the federal law says an illegal immigrant cannot receive that benefit unless the same benefit is extended to all U.S. citizens without regard to California residency.

The three California college systems specifically limit the benefits to students who attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated from a state high school.

In the ruling, the appellate justices said: “The state statute allows the benefit to U.S. citizens from other states only if they attend a California high school for three years. Thus, the state statute does not afford the same benefit to U.S. citizens ‘without regard to’ California residence,” as required by the federal law.

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Categories: Amnesty, DREAM Act, Feature Story, Open Borders Lobby

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