Jersey City, NJ- Supporters of the Tuition Equity for DREAMers bill packed the city hall on February 27 in Jersey City as the council put a resolution in support of Tuition Equity to a vote. A dozen DREAMers and supporters gave powerful testimonials at the public hearing which ended with a unanimous city council vote in favor of the resolution.
About 75 DREAMers, activists, church leaders and community supporters showed up to rally in front of the Jersey City City Hall on Wednesday evening to demand the council’s approval of resolution “J”, co-authored by Councilman-at-large, Rolando Lavarro, Jr. and Councilwoman Nidia Lopez. They marched around Grove St. chanting, “undocumented, unafraid!” and “Up, up with education! Down, down with deportations!” before lining up to enter the City Hall chambers.
Resolution J declares that Jersey City’s local government supports the Tuition Equity for DREAMers bills and urges the state legislature to pass A1659/S2355 and A3509/S2479. A1659/S2355 would allow almost all New Jersey High School Graduates access to In-State Tuition rates, regardless of immigration status. A3509/S2479 calls for In-State Tuition rates plus access to state financial aid at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities for anyone with a high school diploma or GED from an educational institution in New Jersey regardless of immigration status.
“The community must realize that undocumented or not, every human being has rights to education, a pathway to legitimately contribute to, and benefit from, American society. Tuition Equity in NJ is just a stepping stone in addressing the larger immigration issue in the country. Anakbayan, New Jersey United Students, New Jersey Dream Act Coalition and our allied organizations are taking this step in continuing the fight against the illegalization and criminalization of immigrants. We are demanding an end to modern-day segregation,” said Bea Sabino, Chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.
“We welcome this decision by the Jersey City Council. 38.2% of the city’s population is foreign-born. It is clear that Jersey City owes its rich diversity and revitalizing economy to immigrants. The city council recognized that through the hard work of all the DREAMers and supporters who came out to the meeting. It is a proud moment for Jersey City,”Sabino concluded.
Jersey City is the first municipality in all of New Jersey to support Tuition Equity for DREAMers. It now serves as an example to other cities across the state in taking a stand for a person’s right to affordable and quality education, regardless of immigration status.
Anakbayan is calling on Filipino-American youth and the rest of the community to get involved in the NJ Tuition Equity for DREAMers (NJ-TED) campaign now. If you or your organization would like to join the NJ-TED Coalition, please email Anakbayan New Jersey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Giancarlo Tello, Campaign Manager, at GiancarloT@njdac.org.
Thank you to all participating organizations: Anakbayan NJ, NJ Dream Act Coalition, NJ United Students, American Friends Service Committee, Action 21, Mujeres Unidas En Accion, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, RAISE, St. Peter’s University Social Justice Program, New Jersey City University Gothic Knights Grassroots, and community at large