California Dream Act opponents have failed to gather enough petition signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would have repealed the legislation allowing undocumented immigrants access to public university financial aid and thus, help the state provide employers with an educated work force.
“The lesson is clear. California is a state that leads our nation forward, not backward,” said Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, (D-Los Angeles).
“We are a state that prides itself on reconciling our differences rather than exacerbating them.”
He said the allowing illegal immigrant college students access to financial aid would help the state provide employers with an educated work force.
Opponents of the California Dream (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act failed to gather enough petition signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would have repealed the legislation, organizers said Friday.
Volunteers and a small group of paid signature gatherers hoped to collect over 500,000 valid signatures by this week to stop the legislation giving “illegal immigrants access to state financial aid at public universities and community colleges,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
They gathered alomost 450,000 signatures, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-San Bernardino) said in a statement.
“The California Dream Act opponents needed 57,000 more signatures for the November ballot,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
California Dream Act supporters have argued that many young undocumented immigrants came to the country through no fault of their own while those opposed argued that the state should not use scarce resources on “illegal immigrants.”
“This is disappointing news, especially in light of Governor Brown’s announcement that he will be seeking yet another tax hike on California families,” Dream Act sponsor, Donnelly said in a statement.
Cedillo said in a statement that he was “elated” to hear that the effort failed.
“Assembly member Donnelly’s proposal would have taken us in a very negative, destructive and intentionally divisive direction,” organizers said Friday.
In the United States, Mexicans comprise over half of undocumented immigrants—57 percent of the total, or about 5.3 million, according to the Health Policy Center.
Another 2.2 million (23 percent) are from other Latin American countries. About 10 percent are from Asia, 5 percent from Europe and Canada, and 5 percent from the rest of the world.
An Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes in 2010, much more than General Electric, according to the Daily News. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (itepnet.org), a prestigious, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that works on federal, state and local tax policy issues.
The Immigration Policy Center says the immigrant tax figures “should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.
“In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.”