DREAM Act Could Become a Reality in N.J. – Should Christie Sign it into Law? [POLL]
The controversial bill granting the children of illegal immigrants brought here when they were children and wishing to attend state run colleges in-state tuition rates is racing toward the Governor’s desk.
The State Senate yesterday has approved the bill that would not only allow these students to pay the in state rate, but also be eligible for state grants.
And given the fact that the Governor having just won reelection by having gotten a large percentage of the Hispanic vote, seems poised to sign the bill into law.
Tuition “equality” for the children of illegals. Think it a good idea?
A bill to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who grew up in New Jersey is continuing its progress towards Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.
The state Senate today voted 25 to 12 to approve the controversial measure, which would also allow the students to qualify for state financial aid programs. “This to me is about fairness and equity. It’s about accessibility,” said state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the prime sponsor. “And most importantly it’s about engaging in a conversation, that when we talk about making the Garden State stronger, this has to be one of those variables in the conversation to ensure that.”
Under the bill (S2479), unauthorized immigrants who attended high school in New Jersey for three or more years, graduated, and filed an affidavit saying they plan to legalize their immigration status as soon as legally possible would be able to get lower in-state tuition rates at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities.
Currently, immigrants without legal status have to pay more expensive out-of-state rates.
The vote was mostly along party lines. State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean) said the bill would hurt citizens who grew up in New Jersey.
“Let me explain one thing to everyone and make perfectly clear: There are not enough slots in public education right now in our four-year institutions for every student who wishes to go, period,” Singer said. “For citizens, whose parents pay taxes in this state, who have lived here their whole lives.”
Added Singer: “Understand by doing this, you’re really saying New Jersey students who are qualified, who are citizens of this country in this state.”
That statement offended Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who signed on to the bill as a co-prime sponsor.
“These children are here. They live here. They go to school with our children. They play ball with our children… I find it offensive to say that we’re pushing kids out,” he said. “Remember something: These kids aren’t getting it for free. They’re paying for it. To say we’re playing one against another? I can’t believe we’re talking that way.”
To back Singer up, the Senate Republicans’ office highlighted a statement from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services that said some schools may admit more out-of-state students to make up for lost revenue.
The bill still needs to pass the Assembly, where leaders say they expect to put it up for a vote soon.
Christie — who won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in his Nov. 5 re-election, according to exit polls — has expressed general support for the idea of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, but has offered little in the way of details.
True – back in 2011 the Governor expressed the sentiment that, according to this:
“I want every child who comes to New Jersey to be educated, but I don’t believe that for those people who came here illegally, we should be subsidizing with taxpayer money, through in-state tuition their education … That is not a heartless position, that is a common sense position.”
Last month, he said, “I believe every child should be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential … that’s a moral requirement. We need to get to work in the state Legislature, on things like making sure that there’s tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey.”
Something tells me his “common sense position” is going to be outweighed by his plans for 2016 and a possible challenge to the GOP Presidential nomination by one Marco Rubio.
Here’s a better idea.
“unauthorized immigrants who attended high school in New Jersey for three or more years, graduated, and filed an affidavit saying they plan to legalize their immigration status as soon as legally possible would be able to get lower in-state tuition rates at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities.”
Then why not just have them become legal first.
Granted, it would take time – but it would be well worth it.
Then again, that’s just me ruminating.