California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have provided $38 million in benefits to help children of illegal immigrants attend state colleges and universities, according to a state employee.
A worker in the office of Assembly member Felipe Fuentes, the legislator who authored the California DREAM Act, confirmed that Schwarzenegger rejected the bill on Sept. 30, a day before the bill would have officially become law. If the governor had signed the legislation or took no action, the DREAM Act would have expanded financial aid opportunities for minors who are not U.S. citizens.
The governor's decision came after the state Senate and Assembly approved the measure. Those moves drew criticism from Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
"The California legislature continues to demonstrate its contempt for law-abiding, taxpaying Californians," Stein said. "As they put the final touches on a budget that cuts vital services and programs, illegal aliens get new rewards."
On Sept. 22, the United States Senate rejected a national DREAM Act amendment to the National Defense Act, which would have allowed certain illegal immigrant students to receive citizenship if they met conditional criteria. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently announced plans to include the DREAM Act in legislation for the 2011 fiscal year.