It looks as if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will leave the Dream Act off the table this budget year.
A potential bill that would allow New York undocumented high school graduates to apply for state financial aid for college might be taken out of the governor’s budget. The Cuomo administrationhas decided that the bill, known as the Dream Act, would have to be dealt with in a later legislative session if they can’t pass it jointly with an education tax credit. The credit, according to the Alliance for Quality Education, would subsidize private schools.
Linking the Dream Act to the tax credit is seen by the Cuomo administration as a way of getting support from Democrats and Republicans on this year’s budget.
“The Dream Act is supported by the Assembly, and the education tax credit is supported by the Senate,” read a statement issued by Cuomo’s communications director, Melissa DeRosa. “Last year, neither initiative was passed. The governor believes at this point that either both will pass or neither. The governor supports passage of both and included them in his budget. If they don’t pass in the budget, they could still pass in regular session.”
But that doesn’t mean that teachers’ unions and educational activists are happy with the latest news.
“Governor Cuomo should stand with and for Dreamers. He should demand that the Dream Act, and the funding required to pay for it, be in this budget,” said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, in a statement. “We have seen tough-nosed negotiations in the past when he is really committed to an issue. We need to see that now.”
“We call on Governor Cuomo to restore the Dream Act to the budget—on its own—and to pass it as part of the budget,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. “Our children deserve nothing less.”
Last week, the state Senate rejected the New York Dream Act in a 30 to 29 vote, requiring 32 votes were required to pass. In a statement on Facebook, undocumented organizers for the New York State Youth Leadership Council voiced their displeasure, but they said they weren’t going to stop their push for equal rights.
“We are beyond disappointed that the New York Senate would be so reckless with our future,” read the council’s statement. “This isn’t over yet! We are ready to hold the New York state Senate accountable, and the light brigade will shine on to make sure they hear us!”