SACRAMENTO - California Governor Jerry Brown Saturday signed a controversial bill dubbed the "Dream Act" that would allow illegal immigrants to receive public funds for college education.
"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking," Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement issued by his office.
"The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us," he said.
Brown in July fulfilled a campaign promise by signing into law a companion bill to allow illegal immigrants to receive privately funded college scholarships, but not public funds.
Opponents of the "Dream Act" have argued that public funds should not be used to help illegal immigrants, especially as California faces deep budget woes that have prompted cuts in education funding and higher tuitions at the state's public universities.
California is one of about a dozen states that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, based on attendance and graduation from a state high school. Only a handful of states also allow for financial aid for those students.
A federal Dream Act that would have created a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military failed in the U.S. Senate last year.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.