New York To Give Millions More in Taxpayer Money to Illegal Alien College Students
By David Jaroslav | April 4, 2019
New York has given in-state tuition rates at its public colleges and universities to illegal aliens since 2002. But on top of that already huge benefit, the Empire State’s legislature recently passed a bill, absurdly dubbed the “New York State DREAM Act,” that also makes illegal aliens eligible for all forms of state financial aid. On April 1, it was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who is nearly certain to sign it.
Formally Assembly Bill (AB) 2006, it and its companion measure Senate Bill (SB) 1506 were introduced on January 18 and quickly sailed through the legislative process on nearly party-line votes, both in committee and then 40-20 on the Senate floor and 90-37 in the Assembly. In both chambers, a small number of Republican lawmakers joined all the Democrats in supporting the bill.
The “Dream Act” could give as many as an estimated 146,000 illegal-alien students annual grants of up to $5,165 each by making them eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Excelsior Scholarships, the state’s two main financial-aid programs. This funding is in addition to the in-state tuition rates they receive, which at the State University of New York (SUNY) is nearly $10,000 a year or roughly 30%. Even more disturbing, the legislation establishes a separate “DREAM Fund” from private donations, to create scholarships that only illegal aliens are eligible for: American citizens and legal immigrants need not apply.
The bill faced sharp criticism from opponents. State Senator Daphne Jordan (R-Halfmoon) called it “a slap in the face for all the hardworking taxpayers who play by the rules and struggle for the costs of a college education[.]” Sen. James Seward (R-Oneonta) asked, “[h]ow am I supposed to tell families in my Senate district that adequate state aid to help afford college isn’t available for them, but it is available for others who are in this country illegally?”
Sen. James Tedisco (R-Glenville) said his constituents were against it because “[t]hey can't understand why this bill is passing for individuals who have broken the law," while Sen. Rob Ortt (R-Tonawanda) suggested, “[w]hen we can take care of every American citizen who is here legally and played by the rules … then we can talk about those who are not[.]”
The bill is estimated to cost $27 million a year—money that could have been spent on American citizens and legal immigrants, or on closing the state’s estimated $2.8 billion “budget gap,” or just returned to the taxpayers since, according to multiple reports, New York’s taxes are already the highest in the country.