Hogan: Decision to pass Ill. DREAM Act ‘a step in the right direction’

_Editors note: This article is part of The Daily Illini’s year in review edition. These articles are meant to round-up the most important news of the academic year, Fall 2010 through Spring 2011._

The Illinois DREAM Act was passed in Springfield last Wednesday. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act will allow high school counselors and admissions officers to receive training about the resources available for immigrant youth to attain a means to a higher education. It will also establish a DREAM fund, a privately-funded scholarship fund for undocumented students. It will have no effect on taxpayers and will allow undocumented youth a chance to get a driver’s certificate.

Jesse Hoyt, member of La Colectiva and senior in LAS, said the passing of the DREAM Act on the state level is exciting. La Colectiva, a Registered Student Organization, is a group aimed to address immigrant challenges in the community.

“It’s the first and only state that has actually passed something like this,” Hoyt said. “The hope is that similar state-wide bills will continue to pass.”

With anti-immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Georgia, he said he hopes more states will garner support for the DREAM Act.

Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, at a Chicago rally April 30 in support of the Illinois DREAM Act, said he is proud to sponsor the DREAM Act.

“The dream of college shouldn’t be out of reach for the (brightest),” he said. “There are young people we can impact.”

Also at the rally was University president Michael Hogan, who spoke in support of undocumented students.

“The Illinois DREAM Act is a step in the right direction,” Hogan said. “Our University should educate the best and brightest.”

Hogan said no student should be denied the right to an education.

“In this country, it shouldn’t be that hard to chase that dream (of attaining an education),” Hogan added.

Hoyt said Hogan’s support of the Illinois DREAM Act was crucial, especially coming from someone representing a higher education institution.

“I think it was so great that he was so supportive of the DREAM Act. He’s been supportive from the start,” Hoyt said. “It’ll encourage him to keep working on the issue.”

With the passing of the Illinois DREAM Act, Hoyt said more support from other state governments may spark legislation to pass on the national level.

“It just proves that nationally, something needs to be done,” Hoyt said.