Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Buono Blames Christie for Stalled Tuition Bill

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Buono Blames Christie for Stalled Tuition Bill

Article excerpt

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono stood alongside college students in New Brunswick on Friday who said their tuition costs outpace other New Jersey students' because they don't have documentation proving citizenship.

Buono, a longtime state lawmaker from Middlesex County, said Governor Christie, a Republican, is blocking a bill that would offer in-state tuition costs to the students known as "dreamers" who were brought to New Jersey by parents entering the country illegally and continue to live here.

"We're asking Governor Christie, where are you on this issue," said Rutgers University student Giancarlo Tello of Belleville, one of the students standing alongside Buono at the event. "Will you take the lead?"

Buono said the students are deserving of the same tuition costs as other New Jersey students and shouldn't be punished for something their parents did years ago.

"The American dream, isn't that what it's really all about," Buono said. "Too many young people cannot pursue that dream."

Christie, who many view as firmly in the mix for the GOP's nomination for U.S. president in 2016, has done much as a gubernatorial candidate this year to reach out to Latinos, including airing a Spanish-language campaign ad and opening a campaign office in downtown Paterson.

He's also won the support of a Latinos for Christie panel that counts representatives from all over the state, including Bergen and Passaic counties. And he has nominated Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

A recent poll of the gubernatorial contest by Quinnipiac University found Christie was battling Buono to a virtual tie among Latinos even as he held a sizable lead in general over Buono.

If that trend holds through Nov. 5, it's something that will go a long way toward proving to national Republicans that Christie can win, or at least generate a strong showing among a key voting bloc that many believe was alienated by Mitt Romney and other Republicans who took a hard line on immigration issues in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.

Christie, however, opposes the New Jersey tuition-equality bill that Buono called attention to on Friday. …

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