The law was challenged based on Davis’s concerns about increased eligibility and the violation of federal law, but on November 15, 2010, in Martinez v. Regents of California, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that granting in-state tuition benefits to “unlawful” aliens was not preempted by federal law. The court further noted that California law did not treat out-of-state U.S. students worse than illegals, because in-state tuition is available to all who qualify for it.
One might be inclined to think that illegal aliens getting in-state tuition at California colleges would have satisfied the activists. One would be wrong. Enter AB 130. Signed into law by newly-elected Gov. Jerry Brown on July 25, 2011, AB 130 made illegal alien college students eligible to receive privately-funded scholarships beginning in January 2012. As the Undocumented Students section of this website from the UC Santa Barbara Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships reveals, there are several private organizations willing to underwrite scholarships for such students.
Unsurprisingly, the activists remained unsatisfied. Equally unsurprisingly, Gov. Brown was more than willing to accommodate their dissatisfaction. On October 8th, he signed the second half of the California DREAM Act, companion bill AB 131: California becomes the first state in the nation where illegals can now access public funds for scholarships. Proponents estimate such scholarships will cost the taxpayers $14.5 million; opponents between $22 and $42 million dollars. A “non-estimated” reality? California has a current budget deficit of $25.4 billion.
Whether the law stays on the books remains to be seen. Opponents of the legislation have initiated a petition drive in Pasadena aimed at putting the the issue on the 2012 ballot. “All across the state, we can’t keep up with the demand, it is absolutely off the charts,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia) of the proposed initiative. He further noted, “The polling indicates that 80 to 90 percent of Californians are against this, and it crosses party lines.”
Such opposition is quite necessary: 505,000 signatures must be collected by January 6, 2012 to qualify for inclusion. Even so, such opposition may be quixotic: California courts are known for disregarding the will of the electorate, much as they did when voters passed affirmative action and gay marriage bans, both by substantial margins. The former ban was overturned, but the latter remains on appeal.
Aside from the financial costs involved in underwriting scholarships for illegals, petitioners make a compelling argument refuting Gov. Brown’s contention that taxpayer supported education will improve the workforce, noting that illegal aliens “Are Not LEGALLY Able to Work in the United States THEREFORE Paying for the Education of Illegal Aliens is a FRAUD and WASTEFUL THEFT of Taxpayers’ Money.”
Not illegal aliens. “Undocumented immigrants”–to those who incrementally undermine the integrity of the law and the sovereignty of the nation.
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