In a move lauded by some and denounced by others, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie publicly signed legislation that now allows the children of immigrants who came to this country illegally, to pay in-state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities.
The bill, which Christie privately signed into law back in late December so it would go into effect in time for the Spring 2014 semester, will grant in-state college tuition rates to undocumented high school graduates who attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years.
“You’re an inspiration to us because in you we see all that our country can be,” Christie told hundreds of students who gathered in the gym at Colin Powell Elementary School in Union City, N.J. “In you we see, most importantly, infinite possibilities of the human spirit.”
Political observers say that Christie’s support for the state version of the DREAM Act is a sure sign that he is mulling over a presidential run in 2016, and needs Hispanic support if he is to emerge as a clear front-runner.
“Christie’s signing puts him on the right side of history — and likely a 2016 general election electorate — but on the wrong side of GOP base and presidential primary voters and prospective GOP candidates,” says Dr. Doug Muzzio, who is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. “If the GOP doesn’t do something to attract or at least not repel immigrant votes … it will suffer a demographic death.” <Read more.>