- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New York has shut the door on providing taxpayer dollars for undocumented and illegal immigrants to attend school in the state, after the Republican-controlled Senate shot down the matter during a vote that fell just two ballots shy of passage.

The Dream Act vote was 30 in favor of providing the aid, and 29 against — but legislative rules demanded that the provision needed a total of 32 yes votes to move forward, The New York Times reported.

Advocates for the immigrant community were surprised by the vote, having worked behind scenes for months to press the Senate to pass it. They thought the measure wasn’t going to be introduced for vote for a bit longer, and had even scheduled a Capitol trip this week to lobby harder for its passage — but Republicans abruptly announced on Monday they were going to take the tally. With little notice, all in the GOP along with two Democrats cast ballots to boot the measure, The New York Times said.

The measure, had it passed, would have given students without the proper documentation to prove they’re in the country legally the ability to receive financial aid from the state to attend college. The legislation also would have put in place a scholarship fund just for the children of immigrants, even those in the nation illegally, as well as given them the ability to open college savings accounts.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says only four states allow financial aid for undocumented, illegal immigrant students: California, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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