The New York Dream Fund, similar to the Illinois Dream Act, passed the Assembly on May 1st with 136 yes votes. This fund would create a privately financed scholarship fund for all children of immigrants in New York State. In order to have money inside the fund, one must fundraise and/or receive donations. A committee would be created to oversee the development of the fund, create requirements, as well as finance the money.
While the passage of the fund brings joy to some, I can’t help but feel frustrated. It’s a distraction to the state, and some organizers, from passing real change in the form of the New York Dream Act, a bill that would open the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to all youth regardless of immigration status. As the session comes to an end, politicians will think that the passage of the fund is enough involvement with immigrants, and once again, it becomes a scheme for votes.
Instead of being treated as equals, in the state we also contribute to, we are offered a separate and unequal fund which does nothing to change our current situation. We already fund raise for scholarships. We already receive donations to go to school. Some organizations already give money to undocumented youth who want to further their education. All this is done without having to pass a law. When Assemblyman Moya presented the bill on Tuesday, he was asked if such scholarship programs already exist, he said, “yes”. Having a state fund could be a good addition, when the New York Dream Act is already law.
While the passage of the fund means the New York Dream Act has a chance at passing as well, it doesn’t mean that the fund should pass on its own or be the only thing we focus on. Don’t get it confused, both bills are not the same. The fund, which may take years to become reality if passed by the state, steers the conversation away from real change and toys with the emotions of the youth who so patiently wait on a chance to obtain higher education. What more can New York youth do to prove we deserve an equal seat at the table? To prove we are good enough?
However, these are just my thoughts, what do you think about the Dream Fund and New York Dream Act?