New Jersey Democrats Award Criminality
By Jacob Miller and Shafir Sidjaja
The good news?
New Jersey Democrats are finally keeping their promises!
The bad news?
They promised to help everyone but the citizens of New Jersey.
It’s been only three months since Governor Phil Murphy took up his new position in Trenton, yet he has already proposed adding 2.1 million dollars to the NJ budget in order to provide “legal assistance to those facing detention or deportation.” He is also moments away from signing Bill S699, which guarantees financial aid to students who came to the country illegally.
New Jersey Republicans are at least partially responsible for S699. In 2013, Chris Christie agreed to grant undocumented citizens In-State Tuition for college expenses. This paved the way for similar legislation.
Considering that the vast majority of Americans support securing the border and ending chain migration, it is difficult to imagine that most New Jerseyans would approve of S699. Further, a study by the Brookings institute found that “the share of borrowers leaving school with more than $50,000 of federal student debt increased from 2 percent in 1992 to 17 percent in 2014.” So, if Murphy signs S699, he can officially say that he's joined eight other states in prioritizing the needs of undocumented students over struggling American families
Defenders of Bill S699 claim that it will only cost “one-tenth of a percent of the state budget" and amounts to only "17 cents from the average resident’s $1,479 state tax bill.” The reasoning is flawed for multiple reasons. Yes, on the scale of a single household, 17 cents is trivial, but this adds up to a total of 4.5 million dollars; that’s enough to pay for the complete yearly tuition – as well as housing costs – of more than 130 Rutgers students. S699 also sets a precedent for more favoritism towards illegal aliens. If Murphy signs this legislation without any accountability, he will feel empowered to go through with some of his other bright ideas, such as “providing drivers licenses and statewide ID to undocumented residents," and making NJ a sanctuary state. Lastly, this bill is wrong in principle. Even if it amounted to less than one cent of the total New Jersey budget, that would still mean one cent less for the people of New Jersey, and one cent more for individuals who entered the country illegally.
If Murphy signs S699 into law, he won’t only be neglecting his duty to protect rightful US citizens: He will also be forgetting about immigrants who came into the country through the correct legal channels.
Take Isaac Alejo. He is a Rutgers Animal Science Major from Colombia. As a side job, Alejo conducts research with the Rutgers entomology department that is changing the way Americans fight pesticides.
Since Alejo came to the country on a Student Visa in 2012, he has had to deal with endless amounts of bureaucracy. The minimal financial aid he received accounts for less than 10% of his total tuition costs as an international student (which costs even more than out-of-state tuition). To make matters worse, Alejo isn’t allowed to work more than 20 hours a week, and can’t participate in the Federal Work Study Program. He is truly between a rock and hard place (or – better yet – between the limited privileges of legal citizens and the (newfound) privileges of illegal aliens).
When asked to comment on Bill S699, Alejo said “I don't want to get political. I’m not saying it's good or bad. I lean conservative, but don't like to label myself a 'Republican' or a 'Democrat.' I’m just saying that it’s unfair to students came into the country the right way.”
Unfortunately, Phil Murphy will likely sign S699 into law. However, one thing is certain: His feet will be held to the fire by students like Isaac Alejo, the majority of New Jersey residents, and all those who don't think criminality should be rewarded.