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New Act Could Send Children Of Illegal Immigrants To College

Posted January 12, 2004

— President George W. Bush's plans to allow undocumented workers to become citizens could impact other legislation affecting undocumented immigrants. The Senate is considering a measure that would help send children of illegal immigrants to college.

High school could be the end of the line for Jonathan Duran's educational career despite his dreams for college.

"I know that my future is there and that education is the first thing you should have," he said.

Duran is from El Salvador, and he is in the United States with a temporary visa. As a non-citizen, college is just too expensive.

"We have the same needs as you. We're all here to have the same dreams. We have the same dreams as you," he said.

Duran's dreams for college are not dead yet. Currently, Congress is considering what is called the Dream Act. It would allow non-U.S. citizens like Duran to attend college at in-state tuition rates.

"It was not their choice to live in the United States. They are here because their parents brought them," said Rep. Brad Miller, of the 13th District.

Miller does not support a sweeping amnesty proposal, but he will consider the Dream Act.

"It's kids who have been living here, going to American schools, doing well enough to graduate and be accepted into college," he said.

Others do not share Miller's assessment.

"I don't think any illegal immigrant, regardless of what country they come from should have any benefits whatsoever from the United States of America," said Cary town councilman Michael Joyce. "We're allowing people to violate our laws and then reward them for doing so? It's wrong."

The Dream Act has bi-partisan sponsorship and could go to the Senate floor in the upcoming legislative session which starts later in January.

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