Opponents of California's Dream Act have failed in a signature-gathering drive aimed at overturning the new law that will permit some undocumented immigrants to receive publicly funded college aid.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly informed supporters of the referendum drive through a written statement today that the campaign had fallen short of qualifying for the ballot.
The effort garnered 447,514 signatures, not the required 504,760 valid voter signatures required to place the matter before voters, Donnelly said.
"This is disappointing news, but it is no less of a warning to Governor Brown and every Democrat legislator who voted to create a new entitlement program for illegals while the state still has a budget deficit of over $9 billion, and cannot even meet its obligation to legal California students," he said.
The Dream Act allows undocumented students who came to the country before age 16 and attended California high schools to apply for public financial aid, including Cal Grants. Those students already are eligible for in-state tuition, and Gov. Jerry Brown also signed a companion measure this year affording them access to private financial aid.
"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creating thinking," Brown said in a prepared statement upon signing the contested bill, Assembly Bill 131, in October. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us."
Donnelly said the referendum campaign was not in vain because it brought together Californians of every age, race, religion, income and political party to fight "to restore sanity to the Golden State."
"Today only marks the end of one battle in a war to reclaim our voice in our Legislature," Donnelly said. "This one loss will not dampen our resolve."