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Access to Higher Education Critical to Immigrant Rights in New Jersey

On Behalf of | May 6, 2011 | Foreign Students |

Late last month, The Star-Ledger published a scathing rebuke of a recent decision by the County College of Morris to charge undocumented immigrants out-of-state tuition rates to attend the school. Our Edison immigration attorneys are frequently called to deal with visa issues in New Jersey and other immigration issues involving college students. Charging students the higher out-of-state tuition is certainly a step backward, not only for local immigrant families but for the State of New Jersey as a whole. Tomorrow’s engineers, doctors, computer scientists and other highly-educated members of the workforce may be forced because of political decisions like this to leave the state for an area of the country where they can find equality.Here’s what happened: in February, college trustees had voted nearly unanimously (7-1) to lift the 10-year ban on enrollment for undocumented students, provided they had entered the country before age 16, lived here for at least five consecutive years, and graduated from a U.S. high school. Trustees also voted to charge these students the lower, in-state rate, recognizing that many of these students who came here with their parents at a young age did not intentionally violate our country’s immigrations laws. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true, as most progressive things are these days when it comes to immigration. The trustees buckled under pressure and reversed themselves– voting to charge undocumented students the out-of-state tuition, $9,780 versus $3,450, which is quite a significant difference.According to the article, ten states, including New York, California, Illinois and Texas, currently allow in-state tuition for undocumented students. Maryland is about to join them. Instead of placing New Jersey among this forward-looking group of states, this decision only ensures that students who entered the country as innocent children and practically grew up here, will continue to be penalized for wanting to achieve the American Dream.The Jersey City immigration attorneys at Lee & Garasia are dedicated to representing immigrants throughout New Jersey, including Freehold, Linden, Elizabeth and New Brunswick. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 732-516-0049.