By Desirée Taylor
“The reason I signed it privately in my office is because I didn’t want the young men and women who are preparing to go to college this month to have to wait a minute longer,” said Gov. Chris Christie about the DREAM Act, which he ceremonially signed today.
While undocumented students applauded the governor’s ceremonial signing of the Tuition Equality Bill, some political analysts believe it could cost him some points with conservatives if Christie decides to run in the 2016 presidential race. The governor acknowledged there are critics, but he believes it makes sense to continue to invest in students that taxpayers have spent tens of thousands to educate in grade school.
“Even if you are cold-hearted about this, you can agree with the common sense of the economics of an investment made should be an investment maximized. Today New Jersey is taking the step forward to maximize the investment that we are already making in all of you,” said Christie.
It’s an investment in young students like Diana Peneque who has dreams of becoming a doctor.
“I come from a humble family. My parents could not afford that. Thanks to the governor Christie I can go to college,” she said.
“What we are doing here today is recognizing that this conversation isn’t inclusive of Latinos but this conversation is about America. This conversation about families who look at the red, white, and blue with hope, with progress, with opportunity, with destiny in sight and make inroads to this great country so that they can create a better future for their children,” said Tuition Equality Bill Sponsor Sen. Teresa Ruiz.
Christie acknowledged critics doubted his commitment, especially after he conditionally vetoed the original Tuition Equality Bill because it would have allowed undocumented students to get state financial aid. Student Hector Martinez questioned Christie’s actions.
“It’s not really compromise. It’s more political statement because when the Senate passed it, it had given us that part, and governor temporarily vetoed it,” Martinez said.
Assembly Speaker-elect, Vincent Prieto says legislators will attempt to address the financial aid piece of the bill left out of this one at another time. In the meantime, they applaud this legislation for giving young dreamers a chance to at an affordable education.