States Take the Lead on Immigration Reform

Governor Chis Christie signed a bill last week giving in-state college tuition to otherwise eligible undocumented immigrants. New Jersey joins at least 15 other states with similar laws aimed at providing financial assistance to undocumented youth wishing to attend college.

While immigrant advocacy groups will continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level, the states’ approach is welcome. Just as, in the past, states were beginning to impose harsh immigration laws, now the tide is turning and states are following the lead of others to ease the burden of a lack of any status for the undocumented.

The DREAM Act, first introduced in Washington in 2001, has never made it through both houses of Congress. Instead, more than a decade later, the states are having their way and introducing and passing DREAM Act bills of their own. Further, President Obama used his executive authority to implement DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, meant to have the same effect as the DREAM Act would.

Pennsylvania has recently introduced a DREAM Act of their own. The children of undocumented immigrants, who were brought here without choice, deserve an education and deserve the chance to contribute to our country.

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