New York State DREAM Act
A DREAM Act supporter at the Immigration Reform March on May Day in Los Angeles, Calif. Reuters

Every semester throughout my four years of college I was laughed out of the financial aid office for requesting assistance from the government. I resorted to applying for student loans and gratefully accepted them when they were approved. Now, after spending countless thousands on my higher education, I find myself struggling to embrace New York’s latest tuition assistance program for undocumented students, the New York State DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors.

While tolerant of President Barack Obama’s recent attempts to give illegal immigrants in the United States amnesty, the DREAM Act -- which aims to help undocumented residents gain financial aid and scholarships at in-state colleges -- crosses the line of political responsibility.

This week’s protests by undocumented immigrant college students speaking out against the legislature’s failure to pass the DREAM Act is nothing short of insane. The question that keeps rearing its ugly head is this: Why should another country’s citizens get our -- my -- taxpayer’s dollars to help pay for an education when natural citizens are struggling in the exact same way? Let’s not even talk about the ever-growing price of textbooks, let alone university fees.

According to a recent Fiscal Policy Institute study, if the act is put into law, it would cost New York residents “less than 87 cents a day” -- an estimated $17 million a year financed through state income taxes -- in order to fund illegal residents’ education, claiming the cost is “less than the price of a doughnut.” That’s a nice sentiment, one I also see night after night on television watching organizations ask me to “adopt” a needy child overseas, but that doesn’t mean New York State residents, myself included, can afford it.

Those pushing for the act to pass say its benefits outweighs it cons, maintaining it will become one of the state’s “greatest moneymakers” by allowing current high school students the chance to achieve a college education and go on to work professional careers. Hearing others will have the chance to better their lives is commendable, but we don’t have to do it at the expense of hurting those who did it the right way.

According to the NYS Youth Leadership Council, New York residents should be forced to cough up almost one dollar a day to support the quality of life for those who are not legally supposed to be here. If you want to get an education in the U.S., I beg you, do it the right way. Don’t do it by scrounging off our government, which is already suffering enough as it is. Better yet, don’t take it from the paycheck I earned because I paid for four years of college. Keep your “doughnut” claims, I just want justice.

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