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N.J.’s Corzine Supports In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) this week signaled his support for granting undocumented immigrants the option to pay in-state tuition at the state’s colleges. This comes as a response to an immigration-policy report issued by his handpicked Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“They are here because their families brought them here. They should not be discriminated against,” Corzine said, according to another publication, the Jersey Journal.

The panel covered a broad range of issues, including loopholes that allow employers to exploit immigrant workers and whether undocumented residents should be able to get driver’s licenses, an issue Corzine said was best left to the federal government to decide.

“There are some recommendations, no matter how well intentioned, that cannot be accomplished without a comprehensive policy at the federal level, and driver’s licenses for the undocumented is one of them,” Corzine said in a statement.

According to the panel’s report, an estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants live in the state of New Jersey.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have already passed laws for undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Senate rejected for the second time in four years a proposal to allow undocumented students who graduated from or had attended for three years an Arkansas high school to pay the cheaper in-state tuition.

A federal law prohibits states from offering benefits, such as in-state tuition, to undocumented immigrants unless the same benefits are provided to U.S. citizens who are not residents of that particular state. Maryland was considering a proposal similar to the one in Arkansas and practiced in California. However, that approach is the subject of a lawsuit under consideration by the California appellate court. 

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