Chicagoist: "Illinois DREAM Act Passes Senate"

By aaroncynic

The Illinois DREAM Act passed the state Senate yesterday in a 45-11 vote. The DREAM Act would establish a scholarship to dole out dollars to undocumented students for higher education. In addition, the bill would allow undocumented immigrants aged 18 to 29 to invest in the Bright Start and College Illinois programs. The bill was supported by 34 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who sponsored the bill, told the Sun Times “We are simply saying they should be treated as other children are who want to go to college.” Republican Sen. Tom Johnson (R-Chicago) said “This is an American value issue…(immigrant youth) are our future. They are our fellow residents of Illinois.” Not every lawmaker was pleased with the measure passing. Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told the Bellville News Democrat “The state of Illinois holds a big carrot out to illegal immigrants in the way of Medicaid and many other benefits, and this is just one more way we’re encouraging illegal immigration.”

Some 95,000 people could be eligible if the DREAM Act passes the House. While conservatives have been quick to criticize it via concerns over taxpayer dollars, the DREAM Act merely creates a non-profit entity funding these scholarships with private money. Senator Bill Brady, who also supported the bill, said “It’s simply a program which assists people without state money to fund their own college. I found no reason to oppose it.”