Illinois Governor Signs DREAM Act into Law

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed S.B. 2185, the state’s version of the DREAM Act, into law this week, providing college scholarships to students whose parents are either documented or undocumented immigrants.

To qualify for the privately funded scholarships under the new law, students must have at least one immigrant parent, have attended school in Illinois for at least three years, and graduated from high school or passed a General Educational Development (GED) test in Illinois.

The Illinois law borrows its name from the federal DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate in December 2010 and was reintroduced this May but did not come up for a vote before August recess. Despite these setbacks at the federal level, progress is being made on the state level, including passage of a DREAM Act in Maryland earlier this year.

And last year, the California Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants may continue to be eligible for in-state-tuition rates at California state colleges and universities.

Many civil rights organizations including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights support DREAM Act legislation because it would ensure that children who have worked hard, graduated from high school, and have been model citizens receive the opportunity to pursue the American dream and contribute to society.