Legislation signed by Trenton politicos on Monday would allow undocumented (illegal) immigrants who are attending state colleges and universities to only pay in-state tuition and not out-of-state tuition. The measure has been met with outrage by some Garden State residents.
The Assembly Budget Committee, which reviews the financial and economic impact of existing and pending legislation, issued specific guidelines that undocumented student immigrants must follow in order to receive the discounted in-state tuition. For example, the student must have attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years and have a diploma from a state high school or a GED. Additionally, the student must submit an affidavit stating that they have filed or are in the process of completing an application for legalized immigration status.
Detractors of the measure contend that the bill is unfair and that undocumented immigrants should have to pay out-of-state tuition due to their unlawful residency in the state.
One blogger posted, “The word ‘illegal’ means ‘against the law.’ Anyone who is illegal should not receive benefits of any kind!” Another posted, “We are paying taxes, and now you’re asking us to carry those who are here illegally so they can become responsible taxpayers?”
The bill also has its supporters. “This is not a bill for aid; this is just to give children brought here by their parents the ability to pay the same rate as everyone else,” said Eric Straub in New Brunswick.
The bill is expected to be signed in the next few weeks by Gov. Chris Christie and will become effective in time for the fall semester.