The UULMNJ Immigration Task Force is pleased to report that on Monday, November 18th, the New Jersey State Senate voted to approve tuition equity for undocumented young people. Now this important issue is before the Assembly. With tuition equity, undocumented students would be assessed instate tuition rates when they attend New Jersey public institutions of higher learning, rather than being treated as out-of-state residents. The students for whom it makes a difference are New Jerseyans: they live here, they were educated in high school here, and overwhelmingly they intend to stay here and build careers and families. They are our neighbors and friends, though often, they do not have legal status. Instate tuition would make it possible for these students to prepare for and launch their careers.
Additionally, UULMNJ is encouraging our assembly members to extend financial aid to these students. Financial aid helps place a college education within reach, especially for low- and middle- income families. The Senate version of the bill, S2479, was approved Monday, November 18th, and DID include the financial aid provision. Governor Christie has indicated he will sign the legislation if passed. An Assembly bill A4225 is similar, but does not include access to financial aid. Our hope is that the financial aid component will be added before the Assembly acts.
We need congregations to encourage people to make phone calls, write letters, and send letters to their state legislators. To that end, we have a few helpful tools for you. The first is an action_request for distribution to your congregations. The second is a position statement from the Immigration Task Force about this issue. Then you will find a sample email, a guide to leaving a voicemail, and letter_writing_materials
Please let us know if members of your congregation are able to get involved, and what we can do to continue to support your efforts! As we learn more, we may also be encouraging you to consider arranging constituent meetings.
Thank you so much for your help!