For Immediate Release: March 26, 2013
Latino Senators Oppose Education Bill to Protest Missing Dream Act Funding
(Albany, NY) – With the Senate set to vote on the Education, Labor and Family Assistance budget later this evening, the Senate Latino Conference announced that it would vote against the bill for failing to include DREAM Act funding.
The DREAM Act would make students who earn a school diploma or GED and meet other requirements eligible for state financial aid, regardless of their immigration status. For the nearly 4,000 New Yorkers that graduate high school each year that are unable to receive assistance from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the DREAM Act holds the potential to make college affordable, and allow them to pursue their career goals. With the prospect of federal immigration reform uncertain, the NYS DREAM Act is crucial for giving these intelligent, patriotic Americans the opportunity to achieve an education.
“The failure to include DREAM Act funding in the education budget is a missed opportunity to bring young these Americans out of the shadows, allow them to earn an education, and make their parents proud,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat, Chair of the Senate Latino Caucus. “The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, and their hard work has made our country great. Our nation may deny them a path to citizenship, but these young people are the living embodiment of our country’s values. Through their courage in speaking out, these young DREAMers have already proven their intelligence, heart and patriotism. While this budget is a step back, we won’t stop fighting until this injustice is corrected.”
“Equal access to education is a keystone of democracy,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan. “Not including funding for the Dream Act in the State Budget is a disservice to thousands of New Yorkers who wish to realize the American Dream and work to ensure that future generations can and will lay the foundations for a long and prosperous life.”
“Including the DREAM Act in this budget would have sent a clear message that New York is still a place that values hard work, a place that is willing to make a smart investment in growing its middle class and solidifying its economic future,” said Senator Jose Peralta. “Its exclusion means telling thousands of young New York immigrants that, although they have done nothing wrong, all their hopes, dreams and hard work are less important than passing a tax credit making it profitable for Wal-Mart to fire a 25-year-old single-mom and replace her with a teenager. The DREAM Act belonged in this budget, but we will not stop fighting until every young New Yorker has the opportunity to succeed.”
“I am incredibly disappointed in the Senate’s failure to incorporate DREAM Act funding in the education budget, a move which would have greatly improved the lives of many New Yorkers,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera.“Not only did the Education, Labor and Family Assistance budget bill completely omit funding for the DREAM Act, it proposes a minimum wage increase that does not meet the immediate needs of our workforce and that will be outdated by the time it reaches fruition. Investing in our youth and our workforce is of vital importance and will only strengthen our economy and society. For these reasons, I could not support a bill that failed to do either.”
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