N.J. ‘Dream Act’ faces hurdles to passage

Young immigrants in New Jersey are pushing the state Legislature to take up a version of the federal Dream Act by the end of the month.


Vera Parra, who works the “Dreamers” – young students without lawful presence in the U.S. — says it’s a key time for the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act. The measure would grant in-state tuition rates for state colleges and universities to students brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“There are a lot of different campaigns that are using the momentum and sort of consensus building around immigration reform,” said Parra, referring to efforts on the national level.

Well, some consensus. Even a supporter, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, vice chairman of the budget committee that has just endorsed the bill, acknowledges a split that could upset the legislation.

“The four members [of the committee] from the Republican Party were opposed to the bill,” said Schaer, D-Passaic. “It would suggest that they were reflecting the governor’s thought process as well.”

Gov. Chris Christie has indicated in the past that he would veto an in-state tuition bill if one arrived on his desk.

The legislation has yet to be introduced in the New Jersey Senate.

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