ALBANY – This week, New York State lawmakers passed the DREAM Act, which will provide access to state college tuition aid to undocumented immigrants.
New York State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell both voted against the bill. Goodell, in a press release, said he believes the act is a “nightmare” for New York State.
“The legislation, entitled the DREAM Act, is a nightmare for New York taxpayers,” said Goodell. “Rather than increase State financial support for SUNY Fredonia, JCC, and other colleges and universities across the State, this legislation will give away millions of dollars in free tuition to those who pay no New York income taxes.”
Federal law states that illegal immigrants cannot lawfully work in the United States and cannot be issued a social security number.
Undocumented workers in New York State pay no State income taxes. Under the DREAM Act, Goodell said illegal immigrants would be entitled to free college education at taxpayer expense.
Goodell said the amount of tuition assistance to lawful New York residents is based on their income, as reported on their income tax returns.
Since illegal immigrants do not report any of their income, Goodell said they are entitled to the maximum amount of tuition assistance under this bill.
Students who report and pay their income tax have their tuition assistance reduced or eliminated based on their parent’s income levels.
Furthermore, Goodell said the GED exam is now open for any foreign student after being in New York State for just 30 days.
Goodell explained a student could graduate from a foreign high school at the top of their class, come to New York, take the New York GED, and be eligible for four years of free tuition before returning to their own country.
“These glaring problems with the bill were brought to the attention of the Democrat majority several times in the past, but completely ignored,” noted Goodell. “Now that both the State Assembly and Senate are firmly under Democrat majority control, these poorly drafted laws are being rammed through the legislature without any amendments and very little public notice, and immediately signed by Governor Cuomo.”
In the meantime, Goodell said base financial aid to JCC and SUNY Fredonia has seriously lagged behind their needs, resulting in severe fiscal stress to these local colleges.
“Although more students will receive ‘free’ tuition, the amount of funding provided to our colleges and universities is woefully inadequate,” said Goodell.
“The priority of New York State should be to support our State colleges and universities with the funding they need to provide New York residents with a high quality education, rather than to extend free tuition to illegal immigrants, out-of-state residents, and foreign students who pay nothing in New York State income taxes,” concluded Goodell.