Advocates for the DREAM Act yesterday targeted the district of a Queens senator who is one of only a handful of Democrats who have not signed on to a bill to authorize state financial aid programs to assist the college kids of undocumented immigrants.
Several volunteers from Make The Road NY spent hours Sunday seeking petition signatures supporting the DREAM Act in front of churches in Sen. Joe Addabbo’s district.
Natalia Aristizabal, of Make The Road NY, said the group collected about 500 signatures over the course of the day.
The group targeted Addabbo after being told last week by the senator’s chief of staff that there is no support for the DREAM Act in the district, Aristizabal said.
“People signed it,” she said. “I’d say about 80% of the people we talked to signed it. There were people who didn’t have time or didn’t believe in it. But I thought it would be the other way around.”
I recently reported that 20 of the 25 mainline Senate Democrats have signed on to the DREAM Act bill sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens). One of the five not on the bill, Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) has pushed a separate DREAM Act bill and is expected to support the Peralta legislation should it come to the floor for a vote.
In addition, to the 20 mainline Dems, the four members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which shares control of the chamber with the Republicans, have signed on to the bill. The chamber has two other Dems, John Sampson and Malcolm Smith, who haven’t sat with a conference after they were indicted, and a third, Simcha Felder, who sits with the Republican conference.
If all the Democrats in the chamber voted for the bill, there would be enough votes to pass it. But there are some concerns that the issue could hurt marginal Dems in the suburbs and upstate counties, which would impact the Democrat effort to reclaim the chamber in this fall’s elections.
The Republican conference opposes using taxpayer money on people in the country illegally.
Gov. Cuomo has said he supports a federal DREAM Act, but has taken no public position on a state version.
I reported today in my “Albany Insider” column that Cardinal Thomas Dolan and the state’s Catholic bishops back passage of a state DREAM Act while the Conservative party opposes it.
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