Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed into law a bill allowing undocumented immigrants who graduated from high school in New Jersey to qualify for financial aid, during a ceremony that featured several broadsides against President Donald Trump.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey. It’s a ‘great state’ because of its incredible beauty from the 127 miles of Jersey Shore coastline all the way to the gorgeous, rolling countryside out where it borders Pennsylvania. So why is New Jersey the #2 state that middle class people and large corporations are fleeing from in record numbers? Because New Jersey loves to fund welfare and entitlement programs, like today’s story about illegal immigrants now qualifying for college tuition loans. My parents bought their house in 1952 for $14,000 on a 30-year mortgage. In 2018, $14,500 doesn’t even pay the property taxes on the small lot the house sits on. How long can any state in our country function under those conditions? It can’t. As you will see in the video below, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy is a loud, adversarial, arrogant Liberal who loves spending other people’s money. Bruce Springsteen once sang in one of his songs, “…and it was bye, bye New Jersey”. So glad I got out years ago.
“Let’s be clear about one thing: Our DREAMers are just as much New Jerseyans as my and Tammy’s four kids,” Murphy said before signing the measure at Rutgers-Newark, among the most diverse universities in the U.S.
The bill, NJ S 699 (18R), is the culmination of a 10-year effort, as Murphy and several lawmakers who attended Wednesday’s ceremony repeatedly referred to the students as DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. To qualify for financial aid, however, the students do not need to be in the DACA program — though many likely will.
To qualify, undocumented students would have to have gone to high school in New Jersey for at least three years, and have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency degree. They also must file affidavits with their colleges and universities indicating they have either submitted an application to legalize their immigration status or will do so when eligible.
The Trump administration ended DACA, which was enacted under President Barack Obama, but gave Congress a window to save the program.
“President Trump and his Republican enablers continue to show that they do not have our state’s interest anywhere in their agenda,” Murphy said before signing the bill. “I and we will fight this assault tooth and nail in New Jersey alongside most of our congressional delegation and every New Jerseyan who believes, as we do, that we are better than this.”
“This new law is fundamentally wrong for our citizens and taxpayers. In the Assembly and now, I stand in defense of a basic belief: that citizens of the United States should be treated as well or better than non-citizens who happen to be in our country,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris), who’s running for Congress.
Asked whether he’s prioritizing noncitizens over citizens, Murphy said he would “invite any of those folks who have that attitude, beginning with our president, to come into this room and allow any of us to say ‘This is the United States of America.’”
The financial cost of the new law is not completely clear.
In early April, the Office of Legislative Services estimated that if 600 students were to qualify for financial aid under the new law, it would cost the state nearly $4.5 million more in Tuition Aid Grants. OLS based the figure on the fact that, in the fall of 2015, nearly 600 undocumented students were eligible for in-state tuition.
But figures provided by many of New Jersey’s four-year institutions suggest there are at least 159 more students who would qualify. Those additional students, should they each receive $7,451 — the average TAG award for recipients at four-year schools — would bump the cost to the state to at least $5.7 million. And that’s not counting current students at community colleges or private schools, or additional students that may enroll in college.
Recent reports submitted to the Legislature by eight of the state’s 11 four-year public colleges and universities show them serving 670 undocumented students who would qualify for state financial aid under the bill.
Kean University, which did not submit a report to the Legislature, told POLITICO that 89 of its students fall under this category. Two other four-year public institutions said they do not track students’ legal statuses.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) said the amount New Jerseyans spend on educating the undocumented students will be dwarfed by the amount they pay in taxes once they graduate, since those with a college degree earn far higher salaries on average than those without one. “When we put the numbers together … it doesn’t make sense not to,” Schaer said.
Maria Del Cielo Mendez, a senior at Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains who came to the United States from Mexico when she was 3, said that before Wednesday she wasn’t sure she would be able to attend college.
“Even though I have always been at the top of my class, college has always felt out of reach. Today, that changes,” she said. ”Today I know that I’ll be going to college alongside my classmates.”
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), said in a tearful speech that she has been pushing for this legislation for 10 years. “I’m Puerto Rican, I was born in the city of Newark, but I’m a DREAMer,” Ruiz said. source
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