American flag background - shot and lit in studio

On June 7, 2016, the New York State Assembly has yet again passed The DREAM Act, but this does not mean that it has been passed by New York State into law. This act allows students who are in the state illegally to have access to financial aid for higher education purposes. The financial aid is only applicable for state schools. Although it was passed by the Democrat-run State Assembly, the act will likely be denied by the Republican-run State Senate. This act was first introduced in 2001. Governor Cuomo has included $27 million for The DREAM Act in his annual budget, which comes down to about $20,000 per student. Some state officials feel as though students may not take advantage of The DREAM Act out of fear that by coming forward, they may be deported back to their countries of origin.

Those who are in support of The DREAM Act believe that by encouraging these students to pursue their higher education in New York State will help raise enrollment rates of the state schools as well as use the careers that they received with these degrees to invest their money back into the state. There are 4,500 students who graduate from New York State high schools every year that are undocumented immigrants and very few of them can continue on to higher education.

The requirements to be eligible to benefit from The DREAM Act include a two-year enrollment period at a New York State high school, along with a diploma. The student must also enroll in a New York State university within 5 years of their graduation date, meet income requirements, take at least 12 credits per semester in the university while maintaining at least a C-average and make sure to acquire a legal status at the soonest possible time.

As immigration attorneys, we are always interested in any change or addition in immigration law that may have an impact on our clients’ lives. The Law Office of Cheryl David will continue to track the progress of The DREAM Act, as it has not been approved in New York State at this time.

Cheryl David is an experienced immigration attorney in the New York City area. Contact her for a free initial evaluation regarding any questions you may have about immigration procedures and policies.