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Dream Act drives petition

Posted: December 1, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 1, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, left, and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, center, talk to Judi Corfino, of Valencia, while they petition to stop the Dream Act, in a Stevenson Ranch parking lot on Wednesday.

Republican leaders were out in force Wednesday trying to convince people in a Stevenson Ranch parking lot to sign a petition against the Dream Act, designed to help the children of illegal immigrants attend state college.

Three Assembly members, clipboards in hand, talked to motorists and shoppers in the Wal-Mart parking lot on The Old Road in an effort to repeal the bill signed into law last month by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Although Assembly Bill 131 is called the Dream Act, many Republicans consider its consequences nightmarish.
Republicans hope to gather at least 505,000 signatures needed to repeal the act and present it to the governor within 90 days of its having been signed.

Despite the blustery wind sweeping through the parking lot, lifting errant petition forms off their table, Assembly members Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, Brian Jones, R-Santee, and Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, collected more than 200 names in less than an hour, they said.

Donnelly, representing the state’s 59th Assembly District, compared the bill to a “bad cheeseburger.”

“A lot of people didn’t even know this bill passed,” he said. “It’s like when you eat a cheeseburger. You don’t digest it right away. You eat this cheeseburger and it wasn’t very good; it was rotten.”

AB 131 allows the children of parents who are in the country illegally to apply for state scholarships and financial aid at California public universities and community colleges starting in January 2013.

The students would receive Cal Grant money only after legal residents have applied and been funded, and only if they meet certain qualifications. Previously, they were banned from applying for such funds.

Barring a petition, the bill will go into effect January 2013; the state Department of Finance​​ estimates that it will cost about $14.5 million annually.

Jones and Grove, representing Assembly Districts 77 and 32, respectively, joined Donnelly, in presenting a united front opposing the bill.

“It’s phenomenal,” Donnelly said of Wednesday’s outpouring of support for the petition. “People are excited. People are stopping by on their way home from work.”

Castaic resident John Wallace heard of the Republican petition campaign on the radio and drove to Stevenson Ranch to sign his name.

“I’ve got two kids and I can’t even afford to send them to California (colleges),” he said. “They’re going to school in St. Louis, back East, because it’s cheaper.”


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