"Stop the Dream Act" stops in NW Fresno

FRESNO, California

Organizers are trying to gather enough signatures to place a measure on next year's ballot, which would go against the Dream Act.

Governor Brown signed the controversial financial aid bill last month. The Dream Act would allow illegal immigrants attending California universities to receive state financial aid. While thousands of students could benefit from the bill, opponents say, the state can't afford it.

Luis Nava is in his third year at Fresno City College, studying mechanical engineering. Nava doesn't qualify for financial aid because of his immigration status. Instead, he relies on scholarships to get by. Nava said, "So right now it's really tough to pay for tuition, the books are expensive, the unit."

Nava says the Dream Act would open more doors for other illegal immigrants who also want to go to school and build a career. But, some California voters are trying to stop AB-131 from moving forward at all.

During a drive-through petition stop in Northwest Fresno Wednesday night, "Stop the Dream Act" proponents collected signatures in hopes of forming their own measure. In four hours, supporters say they collected an estimated 7-thousand signatures. Jim Forte drove from Clovis to put his name on the petition.

Jim Forte said, "We can't afford all this, so let's start doing something about it."

Governor Brown signed the Dream Act back in early October. Opponents say it will cost the state more than 40 million dollars, at a time when schools are undergoing cuts and tuition fees are on the rise.

Tim Donnelly, a Los Angeles area assemblyman, is the driving force behind the "Stop the Dream Act" campaign.

Donnelly said, "And, you know we've got all these people out of work, why would we create a massive new entitlement that's going to bring more people here?"

Nava said, "Education shouldn't be a crime; we should wanna study, be something, have a title and just succeed."

If this campaign does not work, AB-131 will go into effect in 2013.

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