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Whitman vs. the DREAM Act

The California Dream Act, which would allow undocumented students who qualify for in-state tuition to apply for financial aid, has been passed by the state legislature numerous times, only to be vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown said this weekend he would have signed the bill, but Republican Meg Whitman said she would not support the legislation.

Here is her answer when asked by an undocumented senior in college whether she would support the California Dream Act or the federal push for the DREAM Act to allow some undocumented students to gain legal status, via the Fresno Bee:

Here is the challenge we face. Our resources are scarce. We are in terrible economic times and slots have been eliminated at the California State University system. I think they’re down by 40,000 students. The same is true at the CSU and the University of California system. Programs have been cut and California citizens have been denied admission to these universities and I don’t think it’s fair to bar and eliminate you know the ability of California citizens to attend higher universities and favor undocumenteds. This is a very tough situation. But I don’t think it’s fair to the people who are here in California legally so I would not be for the California Dream Act and for the federal Dream Act. It is only a partial salve to a very challenging situation and I don’t think we can carve out a group of illegal immigrants and give them a path to citizenship when we haven’t sorted out our control of our borders and getting our arms around illegal immigration. So I would say no to both.

Whitman’s efforts to appeal to Latino voters seem to be a “one step forward, two steps back” process. Although she has attempted to woo Latino voters — a sizable chunk of California’s voting population at 21 percent of the electorate — through Spanish-language ads and outreach, Whitman trails Brown by 19 points among Latino voters. In the past week, advocacy groups have seized on allegations about Whitman mistreating an undocumented woman she employed as a housekeeper. Her opposition to the DREAM Act, which a majority of Latino voters support, seems unlikely to win many Latinos over.

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