Uphill battle expected after NY Assembly passes DREAM act

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The New York State Assembly voted Monday to pass a version of the DREAM Act that would extend state money for college to undocumented immigrants.

Under current New York state law, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA recipients are not eligible for state financial aid or scholarships.

Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, of Smithtown, was one of the 42 lawmakers who voted against it.

“The language is so loose that you're encouraging more people to come up,” said Fitzpatrick. “All they have to do is stay in the shadows for a short period of time and they qualify for all this. You can't have that. We can't afford this, plain and simple.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted to encourage the state Senate to pass the bill. That's expected to be an uphill battle.

A spokesman for the state Senate Republican majority said, "We don't support giving free college tuition to people who are here illegally while middle-class New Yorkers scrimp and save, take out massive college loans, and work two jobs in the hopes that they can afford to send their own kids to college."

The state lawmakers are weighing all this as national lawmakers and President Donald Trump are locked in a battle over immigration reform, including the future of the DACA program.

Angel Reyes Rivas, a so-called “Dreamer” from Peru says he has been able to attend school and work legally through the DACA program. He's hoping to open a new phone and tablet repair business in Glen Cove.

“If I'm paying taxes like any other regular, United States citizen…why not get the same financial opportunities as the rest?” he asked.

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