Responding to more than two years of lobbying by immigrants’ advocates, the Democratic majority in the New York State Assembly threw its support on Wednesday behind a comprehensive bill that would make state financial aid available to illegal immigrants at colleges and universities.
The bill would open up several state tuition-assistance programs to illegal immigrants and create a private scholarship fund to help pay for their higher education.
Elements of the legislation had been proposed in piecemeal in past legislative sessions but had not become law. As a result, immigrants’ advocates stepped up their campaign for a more comprehensive and streamlined strategy, centered on a single measure with several provisions.
The Democrats introduced the bill as the immigration debate shifts to the top of the national agenda.