Position Statement -2018
New York State DREAM Act
S.471-C (Peralta) / A.9605-A (De La Rosa)
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) remains committed to supporting the passage of the New York State DREAM Act. WBASNY recognizes the moral imperative for this legislation as well as its long-term fiscal benefits. New York invests time and money in the K-12 education of all of its residents, but we curtail that investment if we deprive undocumented students, who tend to come from low-income or economically disadvantaged homes, of the financial means to successfully complete a higher education. Individuals with college degrees have a greater earning capacity than those that are less educated. Moreover, increasing the affordability of college decreases drop-out rates. New York’s tax revenues will increase over time as more students obtain higher degrees. These long-term benefits inure to all New Yorkers. Through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, many undocumented students have and will become eligible to work (albeit with their immigration status unchanged) but will not qualify for jobs requiring college or graduate degrees if they are not given the assistance they need in order to afford a higher education.
WBASNY supports the full DREAM Act as proposed in the 2017-2018 Senate (S471-C (Peralta)) and Assembly (A9605-A (de la Rosa)) bills (the “Bills”). The Bills require undocumented students to attend high school for 2 years and graduate therefrom, or attend a GED program and obtain a GED within 5 years of applying to college (or within 10 years of applying to graduate school) in order to qualify for State financial aid.
The Bills’ Dream Act also creates a privately-funded scholarship fund for undocumented students, and allows undocumented students to qualify for in-county tuition rates at community colleges and save for college by opening college savings accounts.
WBASNY supports the passage of the DREAM Act in order to get immediate financial aid assistance to qualifying undocumented students.
WBASNY consists of over 4,200 members from eighteen chapters across New York State dedicated not only to promoting the advancement of the status of women in society and of women in the legal profession, but to the fair and equal administration of justice. Our members include individuals from all levels of state and federal benches, as well as prominent attorneys practicing in all areas of the law, educators and government leaders.