Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that allows unauthorized immigrants to apply for state financial aid to attend college.
The legislation will help hundreds of immigrants who grew up in the state and attended high school in New Jersey for at least three years.
Murphy says it’s a matter of fairness.
“We know New Jerseyans support the ability of our DREAMers to not only remain in our state but to become a strong and contributing part of our society and our economy. By allowing them to not only go to college but to qualify for financial assistance we are living up to that ideal.”
Maria Mendez came to the United States from Mexico when she was 3-years-old. She’s now a senior at Union County Magnet High School and has been accepted at six colleges in New Jersey.
“Because DREAMers like me are barred from federal and state financial aid, even though I have always been at the top of my class, college has always felt out of reach. Today that changes.”
Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber is critical of the new law, saying it’s fundamentally wrong for citizens and taxpayers.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer defends it.
“The total cost to the state of New Jersey for these Dreamers as part of the TAG program is about $5 million. For each taxpayer in this state that will cost 17 cents per year.”
Share says allowing immigrants to get college financial aid will help produce better educated residents who contribute to the state’s economy.