SPRINGFIELD -- There's a lot of rumbling about the Republicans that voted for Illinois' DREAM Act this week in the Illinois Senate. State Senator Pam Althoff's (R-Crystal Lake) office released a statement today defending her vote allowing privately-funded university scholarships to be set up for children of illegal residents, through the State Treasurer's office with a program similar to Bright Start.
Perhaps what the good senator is overlooking is that the DREAM Act is perceived by many as an outreach to those that crossed our nation's borders illegally, are currently not legal citizens, but are now being embraced by state agencies without punishment for the criminal act of entering the U.S. without appropriate authorization? Their children also get in-state university tuition discounts and free medical care. People are a little touchy about the growing feeling they're being taken advantage of by those that properly enforced federal law defines as criminals resulting in deportation.
Whether or not, here's Senator Althoff's defense ....
Recently, the Illinois Senate approved legislation (Senate Bill 2185) aimed at allowing student immigrants who have a valid taxpayer ID to invest in their college education – this legislation has been the subject of much misinformation on the Internet and in the media.
The bill requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to create an Illinois DREAM Fund that will provide scholarships funded entirely from private contributions – no Illinois tax dollars will be directed toward these scholarships. In addition, to be eligible for the program, a student must be a resident of the State of Illinois.
Contrary to some of the misinformation being spread by opponents of the measure, it is not an immigration bill – in no way, shape or form does it grant undocumented immigrants citizenship. Also, contrary to what’s been previously reported, the legislation does not permit driving certificates for undocumented immigrants.
As the Daily Herald noted in its May 6th edition: “Note, there is a difference between the state version of the DREAM Act and the federal version, which failed during Congress' lame-duck session late last fall. The state version, unlike the federal version, does not provide a direct path to citizenship.”
Those interested in seeing the full language of the measure can visit the Illinois Legislature’s Web site – www.ilga.gov. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Sen. Althoff at email@example.com.
Senator Althoff is not the only Republican senator that voted for the DREAM Act.