New York State Assembly Democrats denied hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition money to relatives of Gold Star veterans on Tuesday but granted $27 million for illegal aliens' college tuition in a state budget earlier in April.
In a 15-11 vote, New York's Assembly Higher Education Committee decided not to allocate more money to a $2.7 million program that currently helps 145 students related to or dependent on disabled and deceased combat veterans to pay college tuition, the New York Post reported.
“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,” Democrat Assemblywoman Deborah Glick said, according to the Post.
Not all Democrats opposed the veteran funding bill, however.
"I voted for the bill because I think it’s important, especially after that FDNY firefighter was killed in Afghanistan, so heartbreaking," Democrat Assemblywoman Judy Griffin said, reported the Post.
"But I voted yes knowing the bill would be held because it was a tough budget year and as the chairwoman said, there just wasn’t the funding in the budget. But now we know for next year, [so] we will make it a priority and hopefully pass it.”
New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo also signaled that he would support the bill, which provides merit-based awards with a $24,250 ceiling per student, if it made it past the Assembly, according to Stars and Stripes.
“We have a moral obligation, a social obligation to help those families who lost their provider, their loved one, in service to this nation,” Cuomo said, according to Stars and Stripes.
“Assemblywoman Glick should be ashamed of herself,” Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt, who sponsored the proposed funding, said.
“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.”
This comes after Campus Reform highlighted in a video earlier this week how a lesser-known federal statuteprohibits illegal immigrants from receiving "any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit."
Currently, 18 states, including New York offer such benefits to illegal immigrant students.