June 2, 2014

Speaker Silver Statement on the Re-Passage of the DREAM Act

New York's immigrant youth cannot wait a year for another chance at a dream they have long fought for - affording a college education. There is still time left in this year's legislative session to make their dream a reality, which is why today the Assembly re-passed the DREAM Act and is urgently now calling on the Senate to join us.

Immigration status should never, ever be a barrier to pursuing the dream of a higher education. Here in the Assembly we have fought relentlessly for these students because we cannot stand the injustices they are facing. The fact that many of these immigrant youths end up deferring or completely forgoing their dreams of a higher education because they cannot afford it is heartbreaking and blatantly unfair.

By increasing the number of state financial aid options available to these students, setting up a private scholarship program and allowing increased access to the New York State College Tuition (529) Program through family tuition accounts, the DREAM Act opens doors to a college education that is more affordable and future that is much, much brighter. Adopting the DREAM Act would provide these students with the same right to a higher education that all of their other classmates receive without question.

New York has long been a beacon of hope and diversity for people arriving on our shores from all walks of life. Now we have arrived at a crossroads, and it is up to our colleagues in the Senate to act. The Governor has said he would sign the DREAM Act into law if it comes to his desk. It is imperative the Senate join us in taking a historic step forward by ensuring all of our students are provided with the opportunity to work toward a college degree.