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Effort to Repeal Dream Act Begins Locally

As local politicians rally to repeal the California Dream Act, proponents say the new law is a road to U.S. citizenship.

Just before he put out the call last week denouncing the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators as local conservative Republican Phil Paule asked residents to help him repeal the California Dream Act.

Paule, a French Valley resident seeking the California Legislature’s 67th District seat that includes Murrieta, supports the Stop AB 131/Dream Act campaign backed by Inland Empire Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks).

Paule’s vowing to collect 10,000 signatures from the Riverside County area in an attempt to repeal the Act, and he’s invited local residents to learn more about the effort during a public meeting he’s scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at

brought forward by Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), was introduced as two bills this year: AB 130 was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on July 25; it allows undocumented students to apply for non-state-funded scholarships. AB 131, which was signed by the governor on Oct. 9, allows undocumented students to apply for public financial aid to attend California public colleges and universities.

In order to qualify for the scholarships and aid, students must attend a California high school for a minimum of three years and they must graduate in California. They also have to show they are in the process of applying to legalize their immigration status, as well as demonstrate financial need and meet academic standards.

The California State University and University of California systems, along with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, have supported the Dream Act.

But Paule, who currently serves as District Director for Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista), said he will work hard to repeal the law.

“The Dream Act is not about who is allowed to get an education but rather it creates a special class of students -- in this case students in this country illegally -- who are having their education funded at the expense of the taxpayers of California,” he states on his website. “The sad truth is that most illegal persons that California taxpayers will educate will never be able to obtain a job in California due to the E-Verify program.”

But the E-Verify program is a moot point -- for now. Last month Governor Jerry Brown signed the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011, or AB 1236, which prohibits the state, or a city, county, or special district from forcing an employer to use the system except when required by federal law.

E-Verify is a federal online system that lets employers verify whether people they hire are authorized to work in the United States.

In his bid for the State Assembly in 2012, Paule is running against Lake Elsinore City Council members Bob Magee and Melissa Melendez, and Murrieta Valley Unified School District board member Ken Dickson, all Republicans.

In July 2010 when Melendez was mayor, she and Magee took a stand against illegal immigration when they voted to adopt an ordinance requiring businesses in the city to utilize E-Verify. They also voted to adopt a proclamation supporting Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (Arizona SB 1070).

Melendez said she doesn’t support the Dream Act.

“California needs to focus on job creation and getting its finances in order. The current Dream Act does absolutely nothing to address those issues,” she said. “I have grave concern that the Dream Act allows people to jump in front of the line ahead of those who have followed the law.”

Politicians in the Republican-dominated Inland Empire have generally taken a tough stance on illegal immigration. Donnelly has said he believes the Dream Act could drain funds needed for U.S. citizens and could cause more immigrants to enter the country illegally in search of education.

Cal Grants, community college fee waivers and institutional aid to the tune of $40 million is what AB 131 is expected to cost the state in its first year of implementation, according to Conrado Terrazas, communications director for Cedillo.

Cedillo contends that repealing the Dream Act would hurt California in the long run.

“Our economy is in need of an educated workforce and the bill will help us achieve that,” he said in an Oct. 24 written response to Donnelly’s repeal efforts. “ … the California Dream Act that puts us on a path toward economic stability by investing in our youth.”

“They are the cream of the crop,” Terrazas said of the undocumented students who make it to a higher-learning institution. “They got the good grades, they took the SATs, and they got accepted into college.”

Terrazas said the students were brought to this country as minor children and are therefore here through no fault of their own.

“They’ve worked hard against all odds. Let’s not throw that investment away,” he said, arguing that the students will contribute down the road.

“They’ll have a ripple effect on the economy,” he said. “Better they become doctors and architects than work at McDonalds.”

AB 130 takes effect Jan. 1, 2012, and AB 131 takes effect Jan. 1, 2013, so college grads who receive state financial aid likely won’t be in the workforce until 2017.

“Who knows what our immigration policies will be then,” Terrazas added.

John Levin, professor of higher education at UC Riverside, supports the Dream Act, but says it doesn’t go far enough. Students who apply for aid through the Act are identified as undocumented and therefore subject to deportation, which Levin criticizes. He’s also concerned that community colleges will see a greater burden placed on them as a result of the new law.  State funding for community colleges is in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $6,000 per student, compared to about $12,000 per CSU student and $20,000 per UC student, Levin said.

Currently, the UC and CSU systems have a combined total of approximately 700,000 students, whereas community colleges are at around 1.6 million total students, Levin said.

While he points out flaws, Levin said the Dream Act is ultimately about creating a better society.

“Educated people have the ability to contribute,” he explained. Lower crime, a larger tax base, fewer unemployed and a healthier population are all associated with higher education, he said.

Levin has studied the issue of undocumented students in the nation’s education system and published his findings in the book, “Nontraditional Students and Community Colleges: The Conflict of Justice and Neoliberalism” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). During his research, Levin said undocumented college students he interviewed were generally highly motivated, very resilient and able to withstand hardships.

As for finding work after college graduation, Levin contends the new law opens the door to those who might not pursue legal status otherwise.

“Without the Dream Act, there won’t be a road to citizenship for these students,” he said. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Levin also argues that undocumented high school students will be more likely to graduate if they have options to improve their lives. The Dream Act, he said, is highly symbolic.

“It shows that access to education is valued,” he said. “It shows education is valued.”

LBV Collins November 08, 2011 at 10:40 PM
LOLOLOL!! Might as well, Chawk!
Tonto November 09, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Do something! www.buildtheborderfence.com - www.StopAB131.com what wiil be next?
Diana Serafin November 09, 2011 at 03:49 PM
the petition will be available for signatures today at Walmart Murrieta. Come on down and sign it.
Sue K November 09, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Thank you Diana! Seems the Dems of the Patch don't support your idea or they would have published this information for us patriots!
LBV Collins November 09, 2011 at 08:03 PM
You consider yourself a patriot, Sue? Maybe like Ronald Reagan, the poster child of the GOP? (You do know that Reagan gave amnesty to all illegal immigrants back in 1986, right? [1] Do you think Reagan would approve of you signing Diana’s petition? Do you think Reagan would support Phil Paule’s and Tim Donnelly’s efforts to keep minorities uneducated? I don’t.) 1. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128303672
Chris November 09, 2011 at 08:25 PM
@LBV -- I disagree. This has nothing to do with keeping minorities uneducated and everything to do with legal status and who is deserving of taxpayers' money. This is basically taking from the same LIMITED pool of money that was available to students that are citizens, and giving some of that pie to illegal students. How many legal students will now be denied aid because the funds were already used -- for illegal students? The bill doesn't allocate MORE money (which California clearly doesn't have anyway). It takes from the same pool. As a taxpaying citizen of this country, I can't explain the outrage I would/will feel when my child is denied aid for college knowing that illegal students are receiving that aid. How many more families will flock here illegally with the new possibility that their children can get taxpayer money to be educated? This is not a matter of compassion. I have compassion, but I also have common sense. This country does not have the resources to take care of the world's problems -- we already have the most lenient immigration laws in the world. There is no reason that I, as a taxpayer, should be contributing to the higher education of other countries' youth -- youth that cannot use that education to better our society since they cannot work here in the first place. If you are truly concerned with helping the students dragged here illegally by their parents, they need a path to legalization FIRST. NOT an education as an illegal alien on my dime.
Ed P. November 09, 2011 at 09:08 PM
@ Chris: Very well said. Thanks for bringing some calm common sense to this emotional topic.
LBV Collins November 09, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Hi Chris. I respect your passion. Regarding your question, “How many legal students will now be denied aid because the funds were already used -- for illegal students?” the answer is zero. AB 131 specifically states that, “The number of financial aid awards received by California resident students from financial aid programs administered by the segments shall not be diminished.” [1] In other words, students here legally get in line first. If there’s anything left, then students here illegally get the scraps. Regarding your question, “How many more families will flock here illegally with the new possibility that their children can get taxpayer money to be educated?” the answer is not many. Why? According to this August 3rd, 2011 article, The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2%, while Mexico’s rate is 4.9%... and its economy is growing at 4-5% while ours is barely above 1%. [2] Odds are Mexican nationals here illegally will have an easier time finding jobs south of the border than north. In fact, according to Jack Cafferty's article, “It's estimated that about 300,000 illegal aliens have left California alone since 2008.” 1. http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/billtrack/text.html?bvid=20110AB13192CHP 2. http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/03/illegal-aliens-leaving-u-s-returning-to-mexico-for-better-life/
LBV Collins November 09, 2011 at 09:57 PM
As for education, according to this Sacramento Bee article published Jul. 28, 2001, "It's now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico," Sacramento's Mexican consul general, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said Wednesday. "We have become a middle-class country." [3] However, you make a good point that highly educated students who are ready to enter our workforce, but who are also here illegally, can’t be hired by American companies. But since they’ve been in America for so long and are now educated and ready to work, doesn’t it make sense to provide them a path to full citizenship? If we have already paid for their education, it seems much smarter to cash in on our investment rather than to educate them and then deport them back to Mexico. 3. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/28/3799513/improving-mexican-economy-draws.html
Ed P. November 09, 2011 at 10:29 PM
LBV, here's a novel idea. Let them become legal citizens (by whatever legal means) BEFORE we pay for their education.
CAteacher November 10, 2011 at 02:03 AM
This is a petition for a "referendum" which is placed on a ballot. The petition itself doesn't "overturn" or "repeal" anything. In other words, it's a petition which gathers signatures, if enough signatures are gathered; it goes on a ballot, and then it’s put to a vote, registered voters can vote yes or no. By the way, the first part of this bill is AB 130 which already allows illegal students to apply for private grants/scholarship funding at CA schools, it’s only the public funding and grants which is being contested, and rightfully so, it is after all taxpayer money. Let the people vote!
Ed P. November 10, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Very good point. Why would anyone oppose letting the people of California vote on this issue? It's our money they're spending.
5150 November 10, 2011 at 03:03 AM
California voters helped elect Obama, look what a turd he is. Also Jerry Brown. Lots of people in this state that want something for nothing, this is the ENTITLEMENT state.
Tonto November 10, 2011 at 06:41 AM
Mr Brown is in the process of doubling all taxes. Hang on to your wallet !
JJ Mclure November 13, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Brown wants to become brown
don honda November 17, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Just to clarify your numbers: For the first year alone: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dream-20110901,0,5365623.story “It is not known how many undocumented students would be eligible for the aid. A Senate committee analysis estimated the bill’s cost at about $40 million. That includes $13 million for Cal Grants, which average about $4,500; up to $15 million in community college waivers; and $12 million in institutional aid from the University of California and California State University systems.” http://egpnews.com/?p=29709 “On behalf of the California Student Aid Commission, I am requesting a correction to a quote attributed to me, Lori Nezhura, Legislative Director for the California Student Aid Commission, in the “Trying to Keep the Dream Alive” article posted on July 14, 2011 on EGPNews.com. It is imperative that your readers be informed that the number of High School Entitlement Cal Grants and Transfer Entitlement Cal Grants are unlimited and available to all students meeting financial need, GPA, and other eligibility criteria. Therefore, if passed, Dream Act students will be able to receive these awards if they meet the same requirements. Conversely, the number of Competitive Cal Grants is limited. However, the bill stipulates that Dream Act students may only receive one of these awards provided funds remain after all eligible non-AB 540 California residents are awarded.”
don honda November 17, 2011 at 06:15 PM
http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_131&sess=CUR&house=B&author=cedillo I've just read the Assembly floor analysis of AB 131 and the controversial segment, "The number of awards to California Residents will not diminish." is explained in clear language. http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_131_cfa_20110831_202353_asm_floor.html "This bill specifically provides that the number of awards received by California residents through campus-administered programs not be diminished as a result of expanding access to these programs to include AB 540 students. While the number of institutional aid awards cannot be diminished, the bill could result in a change in the mix of recipients and a change in the amounts received by students." This means that the NUMBER of Awards will not diminish, but when AB 131 Illegal Alien Students get into the program, the amount of money or even not being awarded aid to Legal California Resident Students be affected due to being based on need and not merit.
don honda November 17, 2011 at 06:16 PM
http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_131&sess=CUR&house=B&author=cedillo I've just read the Assembly floor analysis of AB 131 and the controversial segment, "The number of awards to California Residents will not diminish." is explained in clear language. http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_131_cfa_20110831_202353_asm_floor.html "This bill specifically provides that the number of awards received by California residents through campus-administered programs not be diminished as a result of expanding access to these programs to include AB 540 students. While the number of institutional aid awards cannot be diminished, the bill could result in a change in the mix of recipients and a change in the amounts received by students." This means that the NUMBER of Awards will not diminish, but when AB 131 Illegal Alien Students get into the program, the amount of money or even not being awarded aid to Legal California Resident Students be affected due to being based on need and not merit.
don honda November 17, 2011 at 06:17 PM
http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_131&sess=CUR&house=B&author=cedillo I've just read the Assembly floor analysis of AB 131 and the controversial segment, "The number of awards to California Residents will not diminish." is explained in clear language. http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_131_cfa_20110831_202353_asm_floor.html "This bill specifically provides that the number of awards received by California residents through campus-administered programs not be diminished as a result of expanding access to these programs to include AB 540 students. While the number of institutional aid awards cannot be diminished, the bill could result in a change in the mix of recipients and a change in the amounts received by students." This means that the NUMBER of Awards will not diminish, but when AB 131 Illegal Alien Students get into the program, the amount of money or even not being awarded aid to Legal California Resident Students be affected due to being based on need and not merit.
Popeye November 17, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Is the petition next to the KKK or Tea Party Sign? Where are all the Christians that stand up to Humanity? I would like California to take the next step and grant citizenship so we stop wasting taxpayers dollars. God, show pity on the hateful people that signed the petition. Amen...
Ed P. November 17, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Signing this petition does not make the people that sign it "hateful". Your comment is inappropriate and insulting. You are entitled to any opinion you wish but your insults are not necessary nor do they advance your point if view.
Popeye November 17, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Obviously you have hate issues. Hate for Humanity is the issue when you sign this document.
Ed P. November 17, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I DO really feel sorry for you. You need help.
don honda November 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM
I've just read the Assembly floor analysis of AB 131 and the controversial segment, "The number of awards to California Residents will not diminish." is explained in clear language. http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_131_cfa_20110831_202353_asm_floor.html "This bill specifically provides that the number of awards received by California residents through campus-administered programs not be diminished as a result of expanding access to these programs to include AB 540 students. While the number of institutional aid awards cannot be diminished, the bill could result in a change in the mix of recipients and a change in the amounts received by students." This means that the NUMBER of Awards will not diminish, but when AB 131 Illegal Alien Students get into the program, the amount of money or even not being awarded aid to Legal California Resident Students will be affected due to being based on need and not merit. For the first year alone: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dream-20110901,0,5365623.story “It is not known how many undocumented students would be eligible for the aid. A Senate committee analysis estimated the bill’s cost at about $40 million. That includes $13 million for Cal Grants, which average about $4,500; up to $15 million in community college waivers; and $12 million in institutional aid from the University of California and California State University systems.”
Popeye November 18, 2011 at 12:39 AM
Don't feel sorry for me, I have everything I need. But some people are against helping others but spreading hate and meanful spirit.
Ed P. November 18, 2011 at 12:58 AM
What you "need" is to stop calling people names like hateful and express your opinion without the judgement. Name calling and intolerance isn't exactly Christian.
Popeye November 18, 2011 at 05:18 AM
The petition is NOT Christian behavior but followers of evil.
Ed P. November 18, 2011 at 05:43 AM
Tsk, tsk, Pops. I thought you were going to try and do better. That will be 50 Our Fathers and 50 Hail Mary's.
Popeye November 18, 2011 at 08:40 AM
Ed P I will pray to save your soul from hated you speak.
G-ma December 02, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Where can we go to sign the petition?

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