Democrats in the New York Assembly blocked a college tuition bill that would expand aid to children in Gold Star families.
The move took place Tuesday, just a week after the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee approved $27 million allocated from New York State’s tax budget to assist illegal immigrants in receiving higher education.
The committee voted 15 to 11 Tuesday to shelve the bill, according to Syracuse’s Post-Standard.
Committee Chair Deborah Glick (D) said that that expanding aid to Gold Star families was not in the state budget.
According to the New York Post, the bill, had it passed, “would have added funding to a program that provides free tuition, room and board at any SUNY or CUNY college to children, spouses and financial dependents of ‘fallen soldiers’ who died, became severely disabled or were classified as missing in action while serving in the military after 1990.”
“We will make every effort to ensure going forward, we have some additional resources allocated to the program so that as an entitlement, it is not falling short of the needs of our military families,” Glick said.
The outlet reported that the existing program serves 145 students and costs just $2.7 million.
A week earlier, Speaker Carl Heastie (D) — along with Glick — revealed that $27 million from the state budget would be funneled into the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act, according to Newsweek.
Assembly member Carmen De La Rosa (D) said that the bill would help New York Dreamers achieve the “American Dream.”
“With this budget, DREAMers in New York will finally be able to step out of the shadows and use higher education to live their American Dream,” De La Rosa said in a release. “By including the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act in the budget, we are sending a clear message to our immigrant population that we value their contributions to our state, and we are committed to helping them succeed.”
Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt said that Glick should be “ashamed” over the decision to block the bill benefitting Gold Star families.
“Assemblywoman Glick should be ashamed of herself,” Ortt said. “We set aside $27 million dollars for college for people that are here illegally.”
He added, “Apparently $2.7 million is all that the families of soldiers who are killed, get. If you’re a child of a fallen soldier, you do not rank as high and you know that by the money.”