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Dream Act passes in California

California Attorney General Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: Here in California, Governor Jerry Brown just made
it easier for undocumented students to access public funds. He signed the second half of California's version of the Dream Act, which is designed to help kids who were brought into this country illegally pay for college. Under the new law, around 2,500 students could qualify for financial aid from public funds.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler has more.


Jeff Tyler: Twenty- two-year-old Justino Mora is a student at UCLA. He's won academic scholarships in the past -- but then donors find out he's undocumented.

Justino Mora: They call me and they tell me, "Look, the fact that you're undocumented, you know, we can't give you the scholarship."

The new law gives students like him access private scholarships and public grants. It could cost the state as much as $15 million.

Anjelica Salas is executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles. She says the law ensures that undocumented students are the last to receive public funding.

Anjelica Salas: They are going to have to wait until the financial need is met for U.S. citizens and people with legal status.

Unlike the federal Dream Act before Congress, California's version does not provide any pathway to citizenship. So even if students get financial help with college, it will still be illegal for them to work in this country when they graduate.

In Los Angeles, I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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