For NJ’s Latino Community, Strong Economic Success and Lingering Struggles

From NJ Spotlight, May 5, 2016:

Latinos as a group make up the fastest-growing segment of New Jersey’s population. They also contribute an estimated $46 billion in purchasing power to the state economy.

But experts participating in a policy forum on Latino issues yesterday said several obstacles are keeping them from achieving even more success, including education policies, immigration laws, and labor trends.

Another big issue is getting access to financial aid, especially for students who are the children of undocumented immigrants. In 2013, Gov. Chris Christie enacted legislation to allow New Jersey students who are the children of undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition. But he’s refused to go a step further and provide them with access to financial aid.

Gordon MacInnes, president of the liberal Trenton-based think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, said that ends up hurting the state in the long run. Taxpayers have already invested heavily in those students’ K-12 education.

“We’ve made the investment, but we’re not going to get the payoff,” MacInnes said.