New Jersey Governor Allows Undocumented Immigrants to Get College Financial Aid

The bill states that students, including undocumented immigrants, who meet certain criteria will qualify for state financial aid programs.


College students in New Jersey who are undocumented immigrants will now be eligible for financial aid from the state, after a bill was signed into a law by Governor Phil Murphy on May 9.

Students, including undocumented immigrants, who meet certain criteria will qualify for state student financial aid programs, according to the bill.

“Tuition equity and equal access to financial aid are moral standards that we as public officials must uphold for all New Jersey students, whether they were born here or not,” Murphy said in a statement, the Observer reported.

The legislation will help students achieve their academic goals, Murphy added. “These young people came to this country as children, were educated in our schools and are just as American as anyone else. I’m proud to sign this legislation to help these students achieve their educational goals and their pursuit of a successful future,” he was quoted as saying by the publication.

Murphy also pointed out that the legislation will dull U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempts to push “dreamers” out of the country. “We will fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening,” Murphy said, reported.

College students in New Jersey who are undocumented immigrants had to, until now, pay for their college classes at lower, in-state rates, after former state governor Chris Christie signed a bill to the effect in 2013. Now Murphy has taken the action a step further by allowing some students who are undocumented immigrants to be eligible for financial assistance. This is something that Christie did not support.

In order to qualify for the financial assistance, students should have attended a New Jersey high school for three years, and should also have applied to make their immigration status legal, besides other requirements.

Those who have already applied to make their immigration status legal and are eligible for the financial aid, could get it as soon as September.

Murphy also took to the social media to announce signing of the bill, saying, “DREAMers are as much New Jerseyans as my kids.”

Senator Teresa Ruiz, one of the sponsors of the bill,  applauded the step taken by Murphy, saying that New Jersey is proud to invest in all the students of the state throughout their academic careers, Fox News reported.

However, not everyone welcomed the decision.

Assemblyman Jay Webber slammed the bill, stating that it is “fundamentally wrong for our citizens and taxpayers.”

“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,” Webber was quoted as saying in the Observer. “Democrats also are taking that financial aid away from New Jersey citizens to give that aid to non-citizens, and our citizens certainly see no fairness in that takeaway,” he added.

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