New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie said on Saturday that he would attempt to pass the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, which will grant in-state tuition at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities for undocumented students in the country. Christie plans to pass the act in the state legislature’s lame duck session.
His public endorsement contradicts his previous stance when he was against granting in-state tuition at public colleges to New Jersey DREAMers, undocumented students who were illegally brought to the country by their parents.
Christie was the keynote speaker at a gala hosted by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, where he addressed his responsibility on issues relating to Latinos:
We’re leaving them without hope that their lives will be great. I believe every child should be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. That’s the moral requirement. We need to work together to make sure that that happens. We need to make sure that we continue to work on the issues that will make our children believe that they have a bigger and brighter future. We need to get to work in the state legislature around things like making sure that there’s tuition equality for everyone in New Jersey.
Gov. Rick Perry did not have much luck when he tried to support Texas’ in-state tuition rates guidelines during the 2012 GOP presidential primaries.
Giancarlo Tello, a board member of the New Jersey Dream Act Coalition, said Christie privately guaranteed to the Latino Leadership Alliance that he would back the legislation, but this weekend was the first time he mentioned anything to the public.
Tello said Christie has the support of Hispanics in New Jersey, and he said that will strengthen the governor’s candidacy in a GOP primary.
“He has presidential ambitions and I think this will boost him, especially him winning a blue state and reaching across the aisle,” Tello said.
Other states, like California, not only approved in-state tuitions, but also granted financial aid and scholarships.