Rutgers University
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A proposal to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens in New Jersey appears to be gaining momentum. Governor Jon Corzine endorsed the legislation, as well as an independent blue-ribbon panel. Plus, the talk of immigration reform from the Obama Administration may give enough fuel to pass the bill.

There are several versions of an in-state tuition bill floating through the New Jersey state legislature, but in summary, the bill would allow illegal aliens who attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years and graduated would be eligible for in-state tuition rates. Currently, illegal aliens have to pay out-of-state tuition rates which tend to be 90 percent higher.

Nine other states have passed similar laws, allowing illegal aliens to pay the lower in-state tuition rates. New Jersey's large foreign born population ranks in the top six nationally, and only Florida and the Garden State do not allow illegal aliens to qualify for the lower rates.

Opponents, including Christopher Christie, Gov. Corzine's leading Republican opponent for the fall election, say that the law, if approved, could take slots away from legal residents.

“We need to focus our efforts on providing tax relief for middle-class New Jerseyans,” Christie said in a statement printed in the New York Times.

Despite the recent momentum, other factors could hold the bill back. The ongoing recession and the upcoming gubernatorial election in New Jersey could all keep the bill from making it to the state house floor.

For more on this story, see the New York Times.
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Updated: Thu, May 14th 2009 @ 10:46am EDT