TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie has reached a compromise with Democratic lawmakers over the DREAM Act, he told reporters at a statehouse press conference today.
The bill will allow New Jersey residents – regardless of their immigration status – to pay the cheaper in-state tuition price at state colleges and universities. As passed by the Legislature, the bill would also allow undocumented immigrants to qualify for state financial aid. However the governor plans to conditionally veto the bill to remove that provision.
“I won’t participate in making this state a magnet state for undocumented students,” Christie said.
“Shame on all of you who accused me and others of playing politics with this issue,” the governor said, in response to criticism from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and others who said that Christie flip-flopped on the issue after election day.
“New Jersey’s version of the Dream Act will afford all residents eligibility for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities regardless of documentation, and it will take effect immediately which in many cases will cut in half the cost of tuition beginning next semester,” said Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland) in a statement released after their bill won final Legislative approval. “This is a victory for children who have grown up in our state, attended our schools and have asked only for the same opportunity as their peers to get a higher education, so they can do better for themselves and their families than the generations that came before them.”
“We remain committed to providing access to financial aid for New Jersey residents and we will not rest until we succeed in doing that,” they continued. “However, our goal was to get rid of an exclusionary system that threatened to harm our state economy by holding promising and aspiring young students back.”
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