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Queens Chronicle

DREAM Act passes state Assembly, again

Lawmakers must turn to tougher Senate

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 12:37 pm, Thu Jun 12, 2014.

The DREAM Act — which would extend state financial aid to students who are in the country illegally — has been passed by the state Assembly ... again.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights), was passed last February only to be slammed down by the Senate.

“By passing the New York DREAM Act for a second time this session, the Assembly has, once again, shown its deep commitment to our state’s immigrants,” Moya said in a written statement. “We have sent a strong message that being a good resident and a good student means more than a piece of paper.”

The legislation would add additional funds to the TAP pool, which offers grants to students applying for college on a merit base.

Critics of the bill have said the program would take away funds from high school students who are citizens and would qualify for TAP funds.

Moya and other advocates rebuke that statement, saying extra money will be put into the pool and there are not a set number of slots for TAP funds — whoever qualifies will get money.

The real problem the DREAM Act will face is in the Senate.

It will come up again for a vote in the fall when the members are back in session and its sponsor, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), may have to use his power as Senate minority whip to get senators on his side of the line.

The bill needs 32 votes to pass, but came up two votes short the last time with 30 in support and 29 against.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is urging Senate opponents to reconsider postponing the vote until the fall.

There is no indication that the bill’s critics in the Senate will do that.

Since the Assembly vote, Gov. Cuomo announced his support for the measure over the weekend and vowed to get it passed.

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