Hundreds to rally in support of New York Dream Act
Two proposals that would make college more affordable for undocumented students will be an area of focus as pro-immigrant activists convene in the state capital on Wednesday. (Flickr: longislandwinds)
A diverse group of immigrants on Wednesday will travel to Albany to advocate for services and policies that benefit immigrant communities in New York, including a state version of the Dream Act.
The group, members and allies of the New York Immigration Coalition, will be staging a rally and meeting with state lawmakers in what they have dubbed the Immigrants’ Day of Action. Among other things, they will be pushing measures that prevent collaboration between federal and local agents on immigration enforcement, increase immigrants’ access to health care services, and provide funding for undocumented students to attend college.
One of the group’s major concerns will be to garner support for two legislative proposals, collectively known as the state’s version of the Dream Act, that would make college more affordable for undocumented students.
New York is one of only thirteen states that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities. The proposals currently under the consideration of the State Legislature would allow them to apply for aid from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and also create a private fund through which donors interested in supporting undocumented students could make tax deductible donations.
A study by the Fiscal Policy Instute estimates that the state’s TAP fund would increase by $17 million if aid was extended to undocumented immigrants.
Although the proposals have been backed by influential state politicians like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Republicans in the state have largely withheld their support. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has supported other pro-immigrant efforts, like pulling the state of the controversial Secure Communities program, has not endorsed it yet.
The coalition rallying for their support tomorrow, which includes leaders from dozens of organizations representing a gamut of nationalities and areas of focus, has hosted the annual event to advocate for different pro-immigrant causes for 15 years. They expect about 1,300 people to join tomorrow.