Laws and Regulations
I have no memory of how I arrived in the United States; I was just a baby when my parents decided to migrate. The implications of this decision did not become obstacles until I had to reject opportunities, such as working for the county and applying to universities. It was a tragic feeling to become aware of what life is like as an undocumented immigrant in a society I had always considered myself a part of. Now after several semesters at SJSU I know that I do have a place in this society. I can make a difference in the life of other students just like me, through sharing my knowledge and encouraging them to continue their education.
— Undocumented SJSU Student
Federal DREAM Act
The DREAM Act is proposed federal legislation that would help thousands of students realize their dreams of legalizing their immigration status. Specifically, the DREAM Act would provide legal status and access to financial aid to those young people who have graduated from a high school in the United States or received a GED, entered the United States before they were 16 years of age and have been in the United States for at least five years. In order to qualify, each student would have to complete two years of higher education, or serve in the United States Armed Forces for at least two years.
State Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540)
On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540). The bill, authored by the late Marco A. Firebaugh, added section 68130.5 to the California Education Code. The addition to this section makes higher education more accessible by exempting out-of-state students and undocumented students that meet certain requirements from paying non-resident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California
State Assembly Bills 130 (AB 130) and 131 (AB 131)
Governor Edmund G. Brown signed into law both AB130 and AB131, collectively known as the California DREAM Act in 2011. AB130 makes financial aid from private sources available to AB540 students. AB 131 will allow undocumented students eligible to apply for Cal Grants and other state aid. Both legislations were authored by Assemblymember Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) and will come into effect on January 1, 2012 for AB 130 and January 1, 2013 for AB 131. According to a press release published on the Governor's website, "the California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal Grants as a result of AB 131, at a cost of $14.5 million. The overall Cal Grant program is funded at $1.4 billion, meaning that 1 percent of all Cal Grant funds will be potentially impacted by AB131 when the law goes into effect."
Immigration law is extremely complex and constantly changing. Therefore, faculty and staff are advised NOT to give "immigration advice" to students, but instead, recommend that they seek professional legal assistance from an immigration attorney.