Immigration Reform News Today: New York DREAM Act Not Included in State Budget Despite 'Priority' Status by Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York State government officials have agreed on its next annual budget, and while education funds have increased, there is no support for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
In a statement on Sunday, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the 2015-2016 budget that will include education reform.
Cuomo said, "With this agreement, we address intractable problems that have vexed our state for generations. After decades of leading the nation in education spending but lagging in results, New York will set an example for all other states with a complete overhaul of the entrenched education bureaucracy," adding that the reforms will put students first by bringing accountability into the classroom and rewarding teachers.
"This is a budget that all New Yorkers can be proud of," continued Cuomo.
Notably absent from the state's budget agreement is the creation of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrant college students to apply for tuition assistance from the state.
Three days ahead of the budget agreement, Cuomo wrote about the DREAM Act's progress in the budget. He had said the DREAM Act would be one of his two priorities -- the second is the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC). He admitted the two priorities will likely not be passed in this year's budget.
"I proposed the initiatives linked together, believing that was the best chance to get both through a divided Legislature. But I support the Legislature passing them either together or separately," wrote Cuomo, later adding, "I am disappointed, but not surprised, that we cannot arrive at an agreement on either of these crucial pieces of legislation at this point in the session. As important as they are, they are very controversial issues in both houses for their own reasons."
Although the DREAM Act failed to be in New York State's budget, Cuomo called for the Legislature to vote on the DREAM Act despite the opposition from Senate Republicans.
"I will do my part to get both of these measures enacted," Cuomo said. "After the budget, there will be three months of legislative session. That is plenty of time to pass the DREAM Act and the EITC, as well as other legislation worthy of our support."
Cuomo, Heastie and Skelos received pressure to negotiate further for the DREAM Act by members of the DREAM (DRM) Action Coalition, an organization seeking to establish local, state and federal policies for the diverse immigrant community, who engaged in a hunger strike.
"When we talk about Dreamers going to college, we're talking about young people who have already overcome tough obstacles to get to where they are," said Cesar Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition in a statement last week. "This hard work is being ignored by [Cuomo] who knows this and still is not willing to put money behind merit. Gov. Cuomo has clearly shown he wasn't willing to fight for the Dream Act."
According to initial budget figures, $23.5 billion will be spent for school aid, which is a 6.1 percent growth.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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