Wednesday, October 12, 2011

California Signs Controversial Dream Act

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that allows illegal immigrant college students to receive state-funded financial aid, the second half of two-part legislation known as California's "Dream Act." The controversial measure, which passed the Democrat-controlled legislature on a party-line vote in September, represents a victory for immigrant-rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential election. California is America’s most populous state.

Only two other states, Texas and New Mexico, allow illegal immigrants to qualify for state financial aid for college.

"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking," Brown said in. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us”.

Brown fulfilled a campaign promise last July by signing into law a companion bill to allow illegal immigrants to receive privately-funded college scholarships. 

Together the two bills have been dubbed the "California Dream Act." A federal Dream Act that would have created a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military failed in Senate last year.

This has raised a fire storm of controversy within the state. Many people are opposed to the idea of illegal immigrants receiving tax dollars for any purpose, including college assistance, especially when California is so broke is has to cut fire fighting resources and close public parks and other facilities.

From my point of view, I can clearly see both sides of the argument. Governor Brown has rightfully pointed out that many of these “illegal immigrants” were just children when their parents brought them into the United States and they had no choice in the matter. They have lived here for years and, had they been here legally, they would have qualified for citizenship long ago. Additionally, in order to qualify for this assistance, they must have graduated from a California High School and have grades good enough to enter the individual college. That, to me, indicates a level of hard work, dedication and reliability. In other words, these are not “gang bangers” or trouble makers, but are, instead, people that could be productive citizens and assets to the state, if allowed.

That said, I have to point out one big problem. Once these students finish and receive a college diploma, they will still not be allowed to work legally and become that asset.

The problem, as it has been all along, is not something that the state can fix, no matter what course it takes. The problem is a broken Federal system which fails to address the question presented by the failure to control the borders, allowing over 15 million illegal immigrants into the country and doing nothing to address the question of what to do about them –except, of course, make it hard for them to be productive now that they are here. They can not legally work, which means they can not legally pay taxes, nor get their own insurance, nor register and drive cars. That deprives the citizens of the state the benefit of their contributions to the tax base, costs us additional money paying for health and emergency care for them, and encourages them (indeed, forces them) to break our laws.

Let’s face it, the Federal Government is never going to round up 15 plus million illegal immigrants and deport them. Even if they did, without properly securing the borders, most of them would be back before the ink dried on the deportation papers. The vast majority of them have been here for years and have eked out a living in spite of being here illegally. The only laws they have broken have been the immigration laws and while many of them have been a severe drain on public resources –they would not have been had they been allowed some sort of legal status.

So, here is what Gary thinks (get your notebooks out). First, we stop arguing about things like offering good and otherwise law abiding students access to in state tuition privileges, and start arguing about how to fix the underlying problem of illegal immigration. Second, we secure the damned border to reduce, not only illegal immigrants from entering the country, but also illegal drugs and unwanted guests (like terrorists…). Next, we continue to deport illegal’s who break our other laws (robbery, rape, murder, etc…) -after they have been convicted and serve the appropriate jail sentences. And finally, we need to give the illegal immigrants already living here a chance to be legal. Give them work permits and have them get in line (at the back, not in front of those who are here legally) for citizenship. Oh, and as far as I am concerned, any of them who choose to serve in the military and are willing to go to war to fight for us should be given an accelerated path to citizenship.

Here endith the lecture for today. Questions on this subject will be included in the final exam……

Weird Laws

Our country is now over 200 years old and over the course of time the Federal Government, State Governments and local communities have passed thousands of laws. Many of those laws were just plain dumb when they were written. Many more became obsolete, out dated and stupid as time passed. Unfortunately, many of those laws, though not enforced, still remain on the books. I have decided to put some of those in my little blog just to share a good laugh, or a good cry –or even an occasional scream- with you. Here is today’s entry or entries:

In Pocatello, Idaho, the carrying of concealed weapons is illegal, unless it is displayed in public view.

In Chicago it is illegal to take a French Poodel to the Opera.

In Maryland since 1833 any one who has bowled can be fined $2 for each of offense.

Live Long and Prosper....

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