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Big development in New Jersey today. Congrats to the DREAMers who made it happen.
Students who grew up in New Jersey but are in the country illegally will soon be able to pay in-state tuition at its public colleges and universities.
After weeks of feuding between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democrats who control the Legislature over the so-called “DREAM Act,” the two sides reached a breakthrough today and agreed to a compromise.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” said state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the bill’s sponsor, as she fought back tears. Ruiz and state Senate leaders announced the deal at a press conference this morning, surrounded by students donning cap and gown outfits.
Christie today plans to sign legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrants who graduated high school in New Jersey after attending for at least three years to be eligible for the lower in-state rates at public higher educational institutions, including in-county rates at community colleges.
But first, he’ll conditionally veto the bill (S2479) the Assembly plans to send him this afternoon. Christie will strike a provision that would make the students eligible for state financial aid programs, including Tuition Aid Grants (TAG). Democrats have agreed to concur with the conditional veto, sending it once again to Christie for his signature.
“The only piece of this bill that didn’t survive is the TAG Grant,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester).”I’m disappointed with that, but I still view this as a victory for young people who are Americans in everything but on paper.”