NY lawmakers vote to make DREAM Act a reality

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

State lawmakers in Albany voted Wednesday to pass the DREAM Act.

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the act, which has been approved several times in the state Assembly, including on Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he would sign the legislation.

The DREAM Act would give undocumented students who graduate from a New York high school or receive a GED access to state financial aid programs. It would also create a specific fund from private donations to make scholarships available to the children of immigrants.

Gerson Sermeno is thrilled by the act passing. He says he came to the U.S. at age 13 to avoid gang violence in El Salvador. He graduated from Glen Cove High School, and is working full time in food services at a school in Nassau. He says he wants to study computer science at college but can't afford it right now.

"I can try, but I know it's going to be really hard for me to go to college without the help," he says.

Lisa Healey, of Hicksville, says she has two sons and her family is also struggling to afford college. But she says her sons won't qualify for financial aid.

"We don't have that opportunity," she says. "We are American citizens and I just don't see where that's fair."

The DREAM Act is expected to cost the state $27 million.

Senate Republicans criticized its passage, saying "it will reward law-breaking illegal immigrants with free college tuition."

  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • 71st annual Emmy Awards

    71st annual Emmy Awards

    Sights and scenes from the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, held Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
    Sights and scenes from the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, held Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
  • Scenes from 'Alienstock' at Area 51 in Nevada

    Scenes from 'Alienstock' at Area 51 in Nevada

    While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.
    While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.
    While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.
    While costumed space aliens were a common and sometimes hilarious sight in events that began Thursday, no one has reported seeing actual extraterrestrials or UFOs.
  • ZZ Top performs at Jones Beach

    ZZ Top performs at Jones Beach

    Friday, September 20 2019 2:53 PM EDT2019-09-20 18:53:26 GMT
    ZZ Top performed at Jones Beach Thursday evening.
    ZZ Top performed at Jones Beach Thursday evening.
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."