Last week, the New York Assembly approved a bill that will provide $27 million in college tuition aid for illegal immigrants.
This week, a bill to increase college tuition aid for Gold Star families from its current level of $2.7 million was blocked.
State lawmakers think it’s okay to provide $2.7 million for the children of deceased and disabled military veterans when they are providing ten times that amount for the children of illegal immigrants.
The Post-Standard reported that “the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee voted 15 to 11 on Tuesday to shelve the bill [to increase the amount of funds available for Gold Star families], effectively quashing its chances of going to the floor.”
The Committee Chair Deborah Glick said “any expansion of college tuition aid to Gold Star families was not within the state’s budget and pointed to an already-existing program that provides $2.7 million to 145 students who are dependents of vets who served in combat zones,” according to the New York Post.
State Sen. Robert Ortt (R-Niagara) said “Assemblywoman Glick should be ashamed of herself. We set aside $27 million dollars for college for people that are here illegally… 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.”
Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Democrats, offered a rather weak explanation for the committee’s decision to shelve Gold Star funding initiative. He said it “would have expanded the eligibility beyond the scope and should be considered within the context of the budget.”
Regarding the Republicans’ reactions, Whyland said, “It’s purely political and it’s unfortunate that they are using children as pawns.”
Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) believes that “the Democrats’ refusal had less to do with budget restraints and more to do with the bill’s author: a Republican, Steve Hawley (R-Batavia). Barclay added that, “We get so caught up in majority and minority issues here, we can’t see the forest through the trees. I don’t know how they justify this.”
Neither do I. There is no way to justify the conscious decision to offer Gold Star children 10% of what they are providing for the children of illegal immigrants.
Spokesman Whyland actually makes a good point. It is purely political, and it is unfortunate that they are using children as pawns. And it is also a travesty.