Illinois DREAM Act signed

August 1, 2011

(WBEZ/Kate Dries)
Students and families gathered outside Benito Juarez Community Academy to watch the signing of the DREAM Act

A new Illinois law signed Monday morning gives illegal immigrants access to private scholarships for college.

Governor Pat Quinn was joined at Benito Juarez Community Academy on Chicago's West Side by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others for the DREAM Act signing.

Emanuel said he hopes the act will be implemented at the federal level as well.

"This is not the end, it is the beginning, and it's an opportunity to achieve an end, which is a greater education, and ultimately also, an immigration bill in Washington that achieves what the Dream act here in Illinois does," said Emanuel.

Emanuel also called it "fitting that Illinois has chosen a different path" on the issue of immigration than other states. 

The law also sets up a commission to raise money for college scholarships. Students can qualify if they attend an Illinois high school for three years, graduate, and have at least one parent who is an immigrant. Immigrant children here both illegally and legally can apply.