New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation that allows illegal immigrants to apply for student financial aid that will help pay for college education as of this fall. The New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application for illegal aliens was live on the New Jersey state government’s financial aid website on Thursday, thus allowing illegal aliens to apply for the same financial aid available to American citizens. Murphy signed the measure into law on Wednesday.

Illegal aliens, including the so-called “Dreamers” whose deportation has been delayed because of an executive order issued during the Obama administration, may apply for financial aid if they are graduates of a New Jersey high school or attended high school in New Jersey for at least three years, and promise to legalize their immigration status, according to the NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority’s website.

“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,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a statement on Wednesday on the Rutgers University campus in Newark. “By allowing them to not only go to college but to qualify for financial assistance, we are living up to that ideal.”

While the state legislature determined it would cost $4.5 million to spend more than $7,000 to each of the 600 illegal aliens who met eligibility requirements, according to the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, that cost analysis was based on 2014 figures. FAIR contends that the number of illegal immigrants has increased and thus increased the cost to $500,000 or more. 

FAIR noted on May 1: 

“Supporters lay out the false case that the amount is insignificant considering more than $425 million is annually allotted for student financial aid.

“The cost actually is much higher, particularly to the low-income students who are legal residents. Giving a tax break to illegal aliens not only serves as an incentive for more to come to New Jersey, it gives a bad break to legal residents by pushing up tuition rates or denying needed assistance to legal residents who are looking for  their shot at a better future.”

In April, the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly passed the legislation mostly along party lines. Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber criticized the bill and said that being a “compassionate state” does not necessarily mean that New Jersey should give limitless government benefits to illegal aliens. “We are a compassionate state and want to see every student succeed and reach his or her full potential,” Webber said in a statement. “But we and our taxpayers have limited resources, and enormous educational benefits already are provided to non-citizens. Compassion does not compel us to provide limitless public benefits to anyone who finds himself within our borders.”

Democrat Assemblyman Gary Schaer said, however, that the financial aid helps students succeed. “Given the ever-escalating costs, many students, even with in-state tuition rates, are finding college more and more financially unattainable,” Schaer said in a statement. “Making this assistance available will make higher education a reality for these aspiring students.”

New Jersey is the tenth state to allow illegal aliens to obtain financial aid, thus joining California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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