California news outlets are reporting this afternoon that an effort to scrap the state’s Dream Act has fallen short.
Organizers of the repeal attempt failed to collect the more than 500,000 signatures that were required to place the issue before voters later this year. The deadline to collect the signatures was today.
Starting next year, California’s Dream Act will allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for state financial aid at the state’s three public systems of higher education: University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges. The state already allows illegal immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition if they graduate from a California high school and can prove they are on the path to legalize their immigration status.
The state legislature’s only Tea Party Republican—Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of San Bernadino—was the public face of the effort and announced the failure of the signature gathering. I’ve not seen any analysis yet why the group fell short of gathering enough signatures, but my money is on organizational deficiencies and funding.
I lived and worked in California for over a decade, so I’m no stranger to the signature-collection requirement that is part of the state’s often-derided ballot initiative process. I was frequently hit up for my shaky scrawl on some prospective initiative outside Sacramento’s Midtown Target store. For those of you not as familiar with California’s peculiar brand of direct democracy, I’ll direct you to this tongue-in-cheek, yet spot-on “analysis” from a recent episode of the Daily Show. (It features Mr. Donnelly).
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.