New University of California President Janet Napolitano said $5 million of taxpayer funds will be given to illegal immigrants attending the University of California system.
Napolitano, the former Homeland Security Secretary, made the announcement on Wednesday “in her first public address since she became head of the 10-campus university system a month ago” at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
“Let me be clear. UC welcomes all students who qualify academically, whether they are documented or undocumented,” she said. “Consider this a down payment–one more piece of evidence of our commitment to all Californians.”
Napolitano said these “DREAMers” merit “special attention,” and the money “earmarked for immigrant students would be used for financial aid and to hire advisers at each campus who could provide guidance on matters ranging from how to pursue legal U.S. residency to applying for graduate school.”
UC officials estimate there are about 900 students who are illegal immigrants enrolled in the UC system. Though they are ineligible for federal aid, the “DREAMers” can receive state and campus-based aid because of a bill California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed two years ago.