Gov. Andrew Cuomo will include the controversial Dream Act in his executive budget for next year, Queens State Senator Jose Peralta claimed last night.
Speaking at a Queens viewing event for President Barack Obama’s announcement of a new executive order for immigration reform, Mr. Peralta said that he believed Mr. Cuomo will include the bill–which would grant state tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants attending college in New York–in the spending plan he will present to the legislature next year. This year, Mr. Cuomo left the fight to the post-budget legislative session, where the measure passed the Democrat-dominated Assembly but failed in the State Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.
Mr. Peralta indicated that the bill stood a strong chance of clearing the Senate if Mr. Cuomo includes it in his budget.
“I believe that we’re going to have it in the Senate. We’re going to see it in the executive budget, with the governor, who’s going to put it in the executive budget,” he told the Observer.
The Dominican-American legislator added that, even should Mr. Cuomo exclude it from his financial outline again, he believed the bill could rally enough support pass. He noted that the members of the IDC all support the act, leaving it just two votes from passage, even with an incoming Republican majority opposed to the measure–and he pointed to Mr. Cuomo’s ability to marshal support for same-sex marriage as a model for overcoming that hurdle.
“If it’s not included in the executive budget, then understand that we’re still two votes shy. No matter what happened in the elections recently, we’re still two votes shy,” Mr. Peralta said. “If the governor was able to push marriage, for which he needed four or five votes, he’s going to be able to help us with two votes.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Peralta re-affirmed that he believed the Dream Act would be in the initial plan Mr. Cuomo submits in January.
“We expect that it’s going to be in the executive budget,” Mr. Peralta said.
Mr. Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.