‘New York Dream Act’ Proponents Increase Pressure On Cuomo

HuffPost Reports on the push for the NY Dream Act:

Proponents of the New York State Dream Act have until April 1 to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include the bill in the 2013 budget. If they fail, it’s not for lack of trying.

On Thursday, hundreds of students and activists stationed themselves in front Cuomo’s office in the heart of Manhattan to condemn the exclusion of the New York State Dream Act from the fiscal year 2013 budget.

The proposed bill would allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements — as residents of New York for at least one year and with a high school or equivalent diploma — to continue their education into the university level.

“Cuomo, let us dream,” “Our dreams cannot wait,” and “Dream Act now,” read the signs held up by protesters. The Youth Leadership Council of New York reported that three of its activists, Janet Perez, Sara Martinez and Rosario Quiroz, all of Mexican descent, were arrested by police.

“We want the governor to be sensitive to our cause. All we ask is for an opportunity to study and prosper in society,” said Raul Macias, a Mexican who plans to study in New York’s university system.

Rodolfo Diaz, a student and member of the Youth Leadership Council, was among those optimistic that Cuomo will add the Dream Act to the budget.

“The governor will, and we expect that is what will happen. It is a law that will benefit everyone,” Diaz said.

The governor, however, has remained silent on the question of tuition aid for undocumented immigrants, despite statements of support from education institutions such as the State University of New York and City University of New York. Cuomo’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, was optimistic about the governor’s response.  “It’s only a matter of time before Cuomo ultimately supports the Dream Act New York project.”

“Although some believe that his reluctance to support the Dream Act is because of his presidential ambitions, Cuomo is politically astute and knows the growing importance of the Latino vote on a national scale. Not doing so makes no political sense,” Falcon said.

Many, however, are more critical of the New York governor and other politicians who have not supported the bill, and among them are the thousands of undocumented students who still hope for the state’s version of the Dream Act.

“It is morally outrageous that Governor Cuomo did not support the effort to integrate all young New Yorkers into the society at large,” said Luis Valenzuela, executive director of the Immigrant Alliance of Long Island, at another demonstration held in Long Island at the headquarters of state Sen. Lee M. Zeldin, a Republican.

03/31/2012 10:48 PM by JPUpdates Staff

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