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Governor Christie Continues to Break Dream Act Promise


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Guest NJ Dream Act Coalition

Governor Christie's stated concerns regarding the NJ DREAM Act are ignorant and unfounded at best, or a cover for his bait and switch game at worst. The NJ DREAM Act is a carefully crafted piece of legislation that permits qualifying undocumented immigrant students access to instate tuition and state aid at NJ’s public institutions of higher learning, as long as the student attended a NJ high school for at least three years and graduated in New Jersey or earned the equivalent of a high school diploma. Governor Christie erroneously claims that the bill grants in-state tuition benefits to out-of-state undocumented students that their citizen peers are not eligible for. This is simply not true and the Tuition Equity for DREAMers campaign looks forward to clarifying any misconceptions about the legislation.

Access to State Aid is True Tuition Equality

The governor responded to accusations that he was backpedaling on his campaign promise to support tuition equity by objecting to the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to apply for state aid; a provision that existed in the bill when he expressed his support. At the Latino Leadership Alliance Gala in October 2013, Governor Christie said "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." He added that “Too many promises to this community have been broken.”[1] The NJ DREAM Act with access to state aid for undocumented immigrants is the best policy for all NJ residents, and the Governor will have broken yet another promise if he refuses to sign.

Contrary to the Governor’s objections, providing access to state aid will not make NJ a magnet for out-of-state citizens or immigrants. Importantly, The NJ DREAM Act would increase the number of recipients of state aid by less than five percent.[2] Similar policies have not had a “magnet effect” in the states where such laws have been enacted. New Mexico, California, and Texas, for example, already offer access to state aid for undocumented immigrant students with no such negative consequences. In Massachusetts, after 7 months of providing instate tuition for undocumented students, less than 50 undocumented students had enrolled.[3] Texas recorded the largest student influx, with just over 8,000 students, but even there, undocumented students only account for seven-tenths of one percent of the total student population[4]. Furthermore, New Jersey's s private high schools send minimal number of students to NJ's public institutions of higher learning and the numbers aren't going to surge simply because of this bill. The Lawrenceville School private high school, for example, graduated only 5 students in the 2009-2013 academic years who attended Rutgers.[5]

The Lawrenceville Dilemma: State Law compliance with Federal Law

Governor Christie raised erroneous concerns about a “loophole” allowing out-of-state students enrolled in NJ’s private high schools to benefit from instate tuition. The governor’s concerns are not new. In fact, legislators and activists pushing to pass this bill for the past 10 years refer to the issue of out-of-state private high school students accessing instate tuition in NJ as the “The Lawrenceville Dilemma”. The issue arises as a result of the need to ensure that NJ state law does not conflict with federal law. Specifically, section 505 of the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) prohibits states from providing any higher education benefit based on residence to undocumented immigrants unless they provide the same benefit to U.S. citizens in the same circumstances, regardless of their residence.

However, this issue has been resolved in the proposed legislation by requiring that the student attend a NJ high school for three years before he or she may qualify for state aid. Concerns that out of state students attending NJ’s private schools will exploit the law to attend NJ’s public colleges and universities at an instate tuition rate are exaggerated. The bill cannot be amended to simply read “public high schools” because this would exclude NJ residents that attend private high schools. Ultimately, the bill has been carefully crafted so as to not conflict with federal law while providing access to education for all NJ residents.

Arbitrary 2012 Limit to NJ DREAM Act Eligibility

Governor Christie introduced the arbitrary idea of limiting the NJ DREAM Act such that it applies only to students who immigrated before 2012. Sixteen other states across the country have already proven that expanding access to higher education for all residents is sound moral and economic policy; that it makes sense for the graduates of today just as it will continue to make sense for the graduates of tomorrow. There is no reason to create arbitrary limits for the young DREAMers who are just entering New Jersey’s kindergarten classrooms and the campaign is committed to protecting their futures in the face of unnecessary political games.

Conclusion

Governor Christie has no reason to oppose the NJ DREAM Act with access to state aid and every reason to support it. The NJ Tuition Equity for DREAMers Coalition urges the assembly to join the state senate in passing this bill. Christie should fulfill his campaign promise to support this bill.


[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN9sccfzfqw

[2] http://www.njpp.org/assets/reports/budget-fiscal/2-rpt_tuition.pdf http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/public/pdf/rd/winning_the_skills_race_summary.pdf

[3] http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_23472207/tuition-opportunity-lost

[4] See “Assembly Appropriations Committee Statement to Assembly Committee Substitute For NJA-2633,” 210th Legislature. December 11, 2003.

[5] http://www.lawrenceville.org/academics/college-counseling/matriculation/index.aspx

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 3rd

Contact: Giancarlo Tello, 201-214-9571, GiancarloT@NJDAC.org

Governor Christie Continues to Break Dream Act Promise

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Guest Patriot

Governor Christie's stated concerns regarding the NJ DREAM Act are ignorant and unfounded at best, or a cover for his bait and switch game at worst. The NJ DREAM Act is a carefully crafted piece of legislation that permits qualifying undocumented immigrant students access to instate tuition and state aid at NJ’s public institutions of higher learning, as long as the student attended a NJ high school for at least three years and graduated in New Jersey or earned the equivalent of a high school diploma. Governor Christie erroneously claims that the bill grants in-state tuition benefits to out-of-state undocumented students that their citizen peers are not eligible for. This is simply not true and the Tuition Equity for DREAMers campaign looks forward to clarifying any misconceptions about the legislation.

Access to State Aid is True Tuition Equality

The governor responded to accusations that he was backpedaling on his campaign promise to support tuition equity by objecting to the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to apply for state aid; a provision that existed in the bill when he expressed his support. At the Latino Leadership Alliance Gala in October 2013, Governor Christie said "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." He added that “Too many promises to this community have been broken.”[1] The NJ DREAM Act with access to state aid for undocumented immigrants is the best policy for all NJ residents, and the Governor will have broken yet another promise if he refuses to sign.

Contrary to the Governor’s objections, providing access to state aid will not make NJ a magnet for out-of-state citizens or immigrants. Importantly, The NJ DREAM Act would increase the number of recipients of state aid by less than five percent.[2] Similar policies have not had a “magnet effect” in the states where such laws have been enacted. New Mexico, California, and Texas, for example, already offer access to state aid for undocumented immigrant students with no such negative consequences. In Massachusetts, after 7 months of providing instate tuition for undocumented students, less than 50 undocumented students had enrolled.[3] Texas recorded the largest student influx, with just over 8,000 students, but even there, undocumented students only account for seven-tenths of one percent of the total student population[4]. Furthermore, New Jersey's s private high schools send minimal number of students to NJ's public institutions of higher learning and the numbers aren't going to surge simply because of this bill. The Lawrenceville School private high school, for example, graduated only 5 students in the 2009-2013 academic years who attended Rutgers.[5]

The Lawrenceville Dilemma: State Law compliance with Federal Law

Governor Christie raised erroneous concerns about a “loophole” allowing out-of-state students enrolled in NJ’s private high schools to benefit from instate tuition. The governor’s concerns are not new. In fact, legislators and activists pushing to pass this bill for the past 10 years refer to the issue of out-of-state private high school students accessing instate tuition in NJ as the “The Lawrenceville Dilemma”. The issue arises as a result of the need to ensure that NJ state law does not conflict with federal law. Specifically, section 505 of the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) prohibits states from providing any higher education benefit based on residence to undocumented immigrants unless they provide the same benefit to U.S. citizens in the same circumstances, regardless of their residence.

However, this issue has been resolved in the proposed legislation by requiring that the student attend a NJ high school for three years before he or she may qualify for state aid. Concerns that out of state students attending NJ’s private schools will exploit the law to attend NJ’s public colleges and universities at an instate tuition rate are exaggerated. The bill cannot be amended to simply read “public high schools” because this would exclude NJ residents that attend private high schools. Ultimately, the bill has been carefully crafted so as to not conflict with federal law while providing access to education for all NJ residents.

Arbitrary 2012 Limit to NJ DREAM Act Eligibility

Governor Christie introduced the arbitrary idea of limiting the NJ DREAM Act such that it applies only to students who immigrated before 2012. Sixteen other states across the country have already proven that expanding access to higher education for all residents is sound moral and economic policy; that it makes sense for the graduates of today just as it will continue to make sense for the graduates of tomorrow. There is no reason to create arbitrary limits for the young DREAMers who are just entering New Jersey’s kindergarten classrooms and the campaign is committed to protecting their futures in the face of unnecessary political games.

Conclusion

Governor Christie has no reason to oppose the NJ DREAM Act with access to state aid and every reason to support it. The NJ Tuition Equity for DREAMers Coalition urges the assembly to join the state senate in passing this bill. Christie should fulfill his campaign promise to support this bill.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN9sccfzfqw

[2] http://www.njpp.org/assets/reports/budget-fiscal/2-rpt_tuition.pdf http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/public/pdf/rd/winning_the_skills_race_summary.pdf

[3] http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_23472207/tuition-opportunity-lost

[4] See “Assembly Appropriations Committee Statement to Assembly Committee Substitute For NJA-2633,” 210th Legislature. December 11, 2003.

[5] http://www.lawrenceville.org/academics/college-counseling/matriculation/index.aspx

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 3rd

Contact: Giancarlo Tello, 201-214-9571, GiancarloT@NJDAC.org

Governor Christie Continues to Break Dream Act Promise

The dream act is a joke. If you're illegal, get your butt back to whatever 3rd world country you came from. Christie is a great governor and a great american.

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