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Dream Act: Brown's Nightmare?

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Any day now Democratic Governor Jerry Brown will decide the fate of the Dream Act, the bill that would extend higher education financial aid to illegal immigrants.

Whatever Brown does will set off a firestorm, to be sure.

If Brown signs the bill, he will be lambasted by political conservatives who will accuse him of rewarding illegal immigrants who shouldn't be here in the first place.

Critics will also charge that Brown is wasting precious state resources on people with no right to those resources, when the money could be spent on those lawful Californians in need.

If Brown vetoes the bill, he will be scorched by political liberals who will attack him for abandoning his base and political party for the sake of pandering to the right.

They will argue that Brown is in a hopeless fight to win concessions from conservatives who thus far haven't given an inch on any issues relative to passing the state budget.

Either way, the Governor is sure to suffer serious criticism.

In fact, the Dream Act has much more symbolic value than substantive punch.

A state Senate committee has estimated that passage would add $13 million in cost to the state's financial aid program, a pittance of the more than $127 million Cal-Grant awarded to college students annually.

Pittance or not, immigration is a raw issue for many Californians. In a state where the issue has been quietly simmering on the state's back burner for a while, approval of the bill by the governor may be more than enough to create a roaring issue for the 2012 elections.

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Related Topics Dream Act, Jerry Brown, Immigration
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