• NJ Senate panel advances in-state tuition bill for illegals

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Giancarlo Tello has suspended his studies at Rutgers University in hopes that New Jersey will join more than a dozen other states and pass a law allowing undocumented students like him to pay in-state tuition rates.

    Tello, 23, whose parents illegally brought him to the United States from Peru when he was 6, would save thousands of dollars per semester if the bill becomes law. The Essex County resident told lawmakers Thursday that he was oblivious to his immigration status until he brought home a driver's license application and was told 'no' by his mother because he didn't have a social security number.

    More than 10,000 students like Tello moved a step closer Thursday to being able to pay in-state tuition at New Jersey colleges and universities, a benefit still restricted to legal residents in all but about a dozen states.

    ANGELA DELLI SANTI, The Associated Press
    Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 5:54 PM

    The Senate version of the bill also gives undocumented students access to financial aid. It is set to move to the Senate floor for a full vote Monday.

    The Assembly passed a version of the bill in June that does not include the financial aid provision. However, incoming Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said the chamber is likely to consider the more inclusive measure soon.

    Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a likely presidential candidate in 2016 who has been touting his re-election support among Hispanics, appears to have softened his opposition to the measure, which is widely supported by minority voters. But it's unclear whether he would sign the bill.

    During his re-election campaign for governor, he told the Latino Leadership Alliance he generally supports legislation benefiting illegal immigrants brought into the country as children. The day after winning re-election and garnering 50 percent of the Hispanic vote, Christie told an audience in predominantly Hispanic Union City he hoped to get a deal done with the Legislature during the lame-duck session, but that the plan must be fiscally sound and take everybody's dreams into account.

    Proponents say these students, who are residents of the state, deserve the cheaper rate. They say their future economic and social contributions to society will be far greater if they are allowed to continue their studies. Prieto said it doesn't make much sense to support these students through high school then stop doing so before they enter college.

    New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control, on the other hand, opposes what it says is taxpayer subsidies for illegal immigrants to attend college. They say such a bill would undermine the efforts by legal residents to obtain good-paying jobs.

    Conservatives who play a big role in selecting the Republican presidential nominee strongly oppose bills that help illegal residents.

    In New Jersey, an estimated 10,000 or more state college students could benefit.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: N.J. Senate leader says Dream Act vote set for Monday started by JohnDoe2 View original post