Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 28, 2013

CITY DESK: When it comes to the DREAM Act -- wake up New York!

Niagara Gazette — Don’t you hate it when you are a devoted customer to a particular service and your provider offers some sweet deal to new customers, excluding you as if your loyalty doesn’t matter?

It drives me nuts to know that some guy who never had cable before gets a discount at sign-up while I’m obligated to pay the same full-price rate I’ve been paying for years.

I’m feeling the same way about New York’s push to authorize the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide financial aid and other assistance to college-bound illegal immigrants.

Yes, you heard that right, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state lawmakers are supporting the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act as a way to, as Bronx-Westchester Democrat Jeffrey Klein has said, “help educate thousands of smart young people from around the world who have moved here to pursue the American dream.”

I’m all for education and I’m not against people from other countries coming to America to better themselves.

But, then, I can’t help but ask the obvious: Should it come at the expense of our kids? 

I have several young people in my family who are struggling to make good on outstanding college loans. 

The cash-strapped state can find and mine money for illegal immigrants, but can’t come up with a few million to do more to help them? 

What about their American dream? They are, after all, Americans. 

In our own office, we have two young reporters who entered the workforce with considerable college debt. They are gainfully employed and attempting to work off what they owe. I don’t hear anyone in Albany talking about wanting to help people like them — actual American citizens who earned their education in the state who have continued to contribute to the local economy after graduation. 

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