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Assembly Democrats push state Senate to pass DREAM Act

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National Public Radio
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Democrats who control the New York Assembly say they will again pass legislation that would provide state college financial aid programs to students without legal status.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa of Manhattan, the measure would allow students brought into the country as children to seek state financial aid for higher education, including the Excelsior Scholarship program that makes tuition at state colleges free for low-income and middle-class students.

"The DREAM Act would level the playing field for undocumented students who have successfully completed high school or received an equivalency diploma in New York by extending eligibility for state financial assistance to pursue a college education," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Heastie said it is time for the Republican-controlled Senate to support the state Dream Act, which has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"To our partners in the state Senate, we say it is fine time and due time to take up this bill and pass it because it's important for the sake of our students and all of our community," Heastie said. "Let this be the year that the New York State DREAM Act finally becomes law." 

The Assembly has passed the measure for seven straight years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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