New Jersey DREAM Act Signed Into Law

GraduationIn a ceremonial bill signing today, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) attached his name to the New Jersey DREAM Act. The New Jersey legislature actually approved the bill late last month and the governor signed it in order for it to take effect during the spring semester. New Jersey is now the 15th state to have put a version of the DREAM Act into effect. Now, after a decade of tireless advocacy, undocumented students in the Garden State are eligible to attend New Jersey colleges and universities at resident rates.

Though the law does offer resident tuition rates for DREAMers, it does not go as far as it should  by making these same students eligible for state financial aid. They and their families contribute millions of dollars in taxes to the state’s coffers every year and should therefore be eligible for assistance. Still, the law is a dramatic step forward and brings promising students closer to achieving their dreams of going to college.

“We applaud Gov. Christie and the New Jersey state legislature for working in a bipartisan fashion to pass this important piece of legislation. This bill will help many of New Jersey’s brightest students achieve their dream of obtaining a college education,” said NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, in a statement upon the law’s passage in December. “Today’s victory shows that both sides of the aisle can come together to invest in our future. We would note that this is still a temporary solution and underscores the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform, so that DREAMers throughout the U.S. can not only earn a college degree but also live and work without the threat of deportation.”

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Congratulations, New Jersey! Savor the victory and celebrate; but remember that our work isn’t over.  DREAMers everywhere deserve the opportunity to go to college if they want to.  However, we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform for that to happen. Join our fight for immigration reform today by texting REFORM or REFORMA to 62571 and you’ll be signed up to our NCLR Mobile Action Network for all the latest news and information you need to know to make immigration reform a reality in 2014.

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