TRENTON – Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), prime sponsor of legislation (S-2479) to allow New Jersey DREAMers to pay in-state tuition rates at the state’s higher education institutions and to qualify for state financial aid, issued the following statement today:
“I am hugely disappointed by the turn this debate has taken. DREAMers are New Jerseyans whose families contribute to the growth of the economy and the strength of our state, so when we talk about moving our state forward we need to include everyone who lives here. This is about fairness and equity. It is about eliminating the division that we create when our students graduate high school, and about getting rid of a system that creates a second-class status.
“The concerns that have been expressed on this bill were discussed at length in the budget committee. Changing the bill to address the issues presented would only carve out another sector of students who would not qualify for in-state tuition. It could essentially gut the bill.
“The critical question here is, do we do this knowing that generations of children will be left out, or do we have the courage as a state to do what is right?
“We spearheaded this effort because the federal government for far too long has been unable to act. We have to make sure that here in New Jersey we actually get it done in a way that is fair, and equitable and inclusive. We have to make sure we get it done right.”