Sen. Stack supports Dream Act
Dec 22, 2013 | 3667 views | 1 1 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my strong support for legislation in the State of New Jersey, known as the Dream Act, which currently is making its way through the state legislature. This bill is designed to offer students who do not possess lawful immigration status the ability to pay in-state tuition rates at the State’s public institutions of higher education, if interested students meet certain requirements.

This bill has caused a great deal of controversy, but I remain adamantly supportive of this measure, as I have witnessed, firsthand, the devastating impact of having to explain to a student, who is an overachiever, that there are no more options to advance in academia, potentially ending dreams and aspirations of success. Prospective students should have countless opportunities to further their careers and secure the American Dream.

Of course, I understand the precarious status of these students, but it is critical to bear in mind that those same students were not willful participants in arriving in the United States, without going through proper channels. Students who arrive here and pursue success should be commended for facing adversity, such as language barriers and reduced earning power of their families. It would be despicable to shun a generation of young residents who only wish to assimilate into American culture and create productive households for future generations.

The Dream Act wholly trumpets the American spirit and it is my contention that this legislation offers hope not only for the students who may benefit, but it offers hope for us as a nation and state, as this bill advances the concepts on which our nation were founded.

As we look to the future, we should continue to be proud of our adversity but celebrate our togetherness and common interests, instead of focusing on our differences. Of course, we are all proud of our ancestors and the cultures that have shaped us, but I think it is time to recognize and celebrate that we are all far more similar that we are different, especially when making dreams come true for all of our young residents.

Brian P. Stack
State Senator

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December 28, 2013
In efforts to "be compassionate" we often, as a society, seem to take unfair actions that result in unintended consequences. Some of these children of illegal immigrants (or "undocumented" persons, or "persons in the United States that did not go through the legal channels" - whatever we call persons who are in this situation) do work hard to get ahead and do all the right things. They may not be willful participants in their circumstance of coming to the US through other than legal channels, and perhaps this is what we need to tackle as a society. It seems hypocritical to continue to consider people as illegal but provide any kind of benefits. We talk out of two sides of our mouth - on the one hand, you're not in the U.S. legally so cannot reap the rewards of full citizenry despite your hard work and contributing to the society in a positive manner, YET, you receive some small benefits that are deemed acceptable (who decides?) Keep in mind that a similar, impoverished young person who lives outside of NJ, and who works equally hard and has overcome challenges not of their own creation, CANNOT get the same benefit under this Dream Act as do the undocumented, because they are legal citizens and live out of state and must pay the higher tuition. There is no such "compassion" bestowed upon them. And, what about the thousands of people actually trying to get to the U.S. through legal means that are still waiting patiently? In order to help "some" (mostly for political reasons), we hurt "others." Our society has become very misguided in the name of compassion; we incentivize taking shortcuts and demotivate patience, hard work and effort, and doing things "by the book". Our government promotes the view that our fellow human beings are incapable of overcoming challenges and rising above their difficult circumstances on their own - something that most of our predecessors had the ability to do! I equate it to the enablement mentality that has befallen an entire generation - to all of our detriment. Playing "by the rules" no longer means anything in our culture; sorry to those young students who are citizens in other states who cannot afford College in NJ - you will not be offered the benefit of in-state tuition as are the undocumented. Perhaps your situation is not as dire. Why not just do what East Oregon University does - set the tuition rate to be the same for students in state AND out of state; then there's no perceived favoritism and or moral judgment. Laws, if established, should be followed so there is the closest thing to justice for all; otherwise, do AWAY with the laws so NO ONE is breaking them and there is more of a level playing field. We do well in our society to LIFT UP ALL downtrodden and disadvantaged people - not just the undocumented (and I didn't say anything a handout - i mean by supporting their efforts to do better because we have confidence that everyone is a capable human being). The Dream Act, while it is possibly a smart thing to do, it is unfair. We might want to figure out a better and more just way to accomplish the same result, but to help all people.