Gavin Newsom: Friend or Foe of Illegal Immigrant Youth?

Categories: Education
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Friend of students, foe of alleged felons.
Update: Newsom's spokesman responds. Read below. 

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has come out today supporting a group he threw the book at during his time as San Francisco mayor: illegal immigrant youth.

Newsom has sent a letter to Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) in support of the California Dream Act,  which is pending legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for Cal Grants and university financial aid for California residents.

"For undocumented students who cannot legally work and who are denied the right to apply for institutional or governmental financial aid, access to a post-secondary education becomes nearly impossible," Newsom writes in a statement.

Newsom, why the change of tune?

During his time as mayor, Newsom angered the immigrant-rights community by reversing the city's long-running policy on shielding illegal immigrant juveniles who had been accused of a crime.

Now, any illegal juvenile arrested for a felony crime is reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- even if they were never convicted. That resulted in controversial scenarios, such as last year when an Australian boy suspected of punching and then stealing 46 cents from his San Francisco classmate faced deportation. 

Well, given Newsom's position today, we are led to believe that if that same teen remained in America and eventually applied to a college in California, then Newsom would support him in accessing financial aid.

This legislation, which is being heard today in Sacramento, is the state's attempt to help the same students who were denied immigration relief under the federal DREAM Act. That bill failed to get enough votes to make it through Congress last December.

That law, which we wrote about in a 2010 cover story, would give a path to permanent residency to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as kids, and who attended two years at a college or served in the military.

California already passed AB 540 a decade ago, which allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at California public universities. The California Dream Act would help those students cross over the remaining barrier -- paying for college while still being undocumented.

"Investing in our youth's post-secondary education will ensure that we have the necessary workforce to meet our state's future demands," Newsom writes in his letter today. 

Yet Newsom might be getting ahead of himself, considering the federal DREAM Act hasn't passed. Even if students could get scholarships to study, after graduation, this "necessary workforce" wouldn't be able to legally get a job.

Update, 5:20 p.m.
: Newsom's spokesman Francisco Castillo called to say, "Your comparison is ridiculous."

Why?

"You would have to assume every undocumented student who is applying has committed a crime."

We're only pointing out that Newsom came out against immigrant teens being held at juvenile hall, but is now standing by them when it comes to their rights to attend a university.

Castillo fired back, saying there's been no "change of tune" as indicated in the story because Newsom has been consistent on his pro-Dream Act position since he was mayor.
 
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6 comments
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sfsoma
sfsoma

Newsom is sleazy and irrelevant. The public have figured out that he is friend to one thing only: Gavin Newsom. Truly a man not to be trusted.

Ali Alexander
Ali Alexander

The California Dream Act is irrelevant, too, njudah. Illegal aliens who graduate from California schools will NOT be able to work legally in this country. They'll end up doing much the same jobs that they can do now illegally. Or, they can return to their home countries and put their education to use there. After all, that's what legal foreign students are expected to do.

FiscalInsanity
FiscalInsanity

We cannot afford the costs associated with the California Dream Act, which would aid the tens of thousands of undocumented college students who currently attend California universities and community colleges. But the even larger problem is it would greatly increase the number of undocumented who could afford to go, thereby increasing applications and future illegal immigration EXPONETIALLY.

Right now, full tuition is granted for having low income regisitered on the student's parents' valid social security numbers. If the student's parents' don't have valid social security numbers, no income is registered. That means virtually 100% of undocumented students would qualify for full financial aid, even if their undocumented income exceeds that of a citizen student's family income.

The California Dream Act = California citizens pay tax to education the entire global community and learn to adapt to their customs and love it or leave.

There is no way this plan could work. It is fiscal insanity.

How many would apply given a guarantee of full tuition -- millions!!! The airplanes can't fly into LAX fast enough.

Brian Says
Brian Says

trying to rehab himself for running for governor in 4-8 years

njudah
njudah

Newsom is irrelevant. He can issue all the press releases he likes, but he has no power, and has no authority. He's not Mayor anymore, despite what his Magic Mirror tells him.

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