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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Make the Dream come true

Let young undocumented immigrants get state tuition assistance to go to college.

There’s new hope for a worthy plan to open the state’s college scholarship program to children of illegal immigrants.

As Daily News Albany bureau chief Ken Lovett reported Tuesday, Senate co-leader Jeff Klein of the Bronx is angling to bring the so-called New York Dream Act to the floor of his chamber for the first time.

It’s the right thing to do for kids who are in this country through no fault of their own. At the least, it deserves an up-or-down vote and must not be smothered behind closed doors, Albany-style.

New York is home to thousands of young people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents before the age of 16. They are blameless and should get the standard help available to the general population under the Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP, which offers up to $5,000 a year in scholarships for kids from families with incomes below $80,000.

TAP finances all who qualify, so newly eligible students would not displace citizens.

An estimated 8,300 undocumented students are enrolled in New York colleges already — many of them scraping by as part-timers or failing to graduate for lack of funds. Giving them a boost would cost perhaps $20 million a year — or 2% of the TAP budget.

The Assembly supports the Dream Act. Gov. Cuomo does as well. The least New York’s senators can do — as representatives of the state that’s proudly home to the Statue of Liberty and a landing place for generations of aspiring Americans — is give the Dream Act a vote.

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