BY ISN STAFFJanuary 13, 2014

A month after Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president at St. Peter’s University advocate for immigration reform in a Huffington Post op-ed to, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the DREAM Act allowing undocumented students to be eligible for in-state tuition.  Those granted in-state tuition under the New Jersey DREAM Act are students who were brought into the United States without documentation as children, have attended at least three years of high school in the state of New Jersey, have earned a high school or equivalency diploma, and meet various other criteria requirements.

St. Peter's University graduate Catalina Adorno (3rd from right) and fellow New Jersey DREAM Act activists at bill signing in Union City, New Jersey.

St. Peter’s University graduate Catalina Adorno (3rd from right) and fellow New Jersey DREAM Act activists at bill signing in Union City, New Jersey.

For Catalina Adorno, alumna of St. Peter’s University and an organizer of  DREAM Act advocacy in New Jersey, the signing of the New Jersey DREAM Act is a great step forward.  “The ceremonial signing of the N.J. Dream Act in Union City, a community with a sizable Latino population, is particularly meaningful to youth leaders in the community,” said Adorno, she continued, “thanks to the perseverance of the youth movement, this law was passed and I’m honored that the signing is being held in my city.”  Adorno attended public schools in Union City throughout her childhood.

While a step forward, there is still some disappointment about what was not included in the recently signed legislation.  Adorno noted that the DREAM Act is a first step but there is still more to be done, “The reality is that many students still won’t have access to higher education because they are unfairly denied access to the state aid that would make college affordable.”

The passing of the New Jersey DREAM Act in is a positive move towards humane immigration reform but the debate in the U.S. Congress over comprehensive immigration reform in throughout the country continues.  As Ignatian Family Advocacy Month kicks off in February,  Learn, Pray, and Advocate with the Ignatian Family for humane immigration reform.

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