DREAM Act: Poor Use Of Public Money

DREAM is quite a misnomer for a law that opens state tuition assistance programs to students in the country illegally.

Working families who struggle to pay for college rightly view the bill as a nightmare. It takes money that could benefit their children and gives it the children of those who made a choice to live and work in New York state illegally.

The DREAM Act has once again passed the state Assembly, though we note it did so without support from state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County. It allows children of illegal immigrants access to state financial aid programs, to money that would be part of a private scholarship program called the DREAM Fund and make available the state’s College Tuition 529 tax-free savings program to families of illegals as long as they can provide a valid taxpayer identification number.

Much like Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to pay for college for those in prison, the DREAM Act is a good-hearted plan that is poor public policy. Both are poor uses of public money. The DREAM Act comes with an Assembly-approved price tag of $27 million while the college for inmates plan hasn’t made it far enough in the legislative process to have a final price. Both proposals place the needs of groups of people who have made choices that place them at odds with the law ahead of the needs of honest, working taxpayers.

Those who lawfully report their income and pay taxes should not have their share of programs diminished on behalf of those who have violated the law, who work under the table or who don’t pay taxes. As it is, New York already permits children of illegals to qualify for cheaper in-state tuition at State University of New York or City University of New York institutions – which means there are options available for children of illegals who want to attend college.

Cuomo has said he will sign the DREAM Act if it is approved by the state Senate. We trust state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and her colleagues in the Senate will make sure the DREAM Act never reaches the governor’s desk.