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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill Wednesday that allows New Jersey college students who are in the country illegally to obtain financial aid for their education, several news outlets reported.

Murphy called the United States the "world's melting pot" where people come "in the hope of a new life," when he signed the legislation at Rutgers-Newark, according to NJ.com.

The bill's sponsor, State Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), praised Murphy's move, saying that the Garden State prides itself in investing in "all of our students throughout their K-12 academic careers."

She said it is not right to limit that prospect for DREAMers.

State Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Parsippany) ripped Murphy, saying the new policy is "fundamentally wrong" and offers the prospect of treating non-citizens better than citizens, according to the New York Observer.

Murphy dismissed Republican criticisms, saying he would "invite any of those folks who have that attitude, beginning with our President [Donald Trump] to come on into this room and allow me... to say 'this is the United States of America'."

"These young people came to this country as children, were educated in our schools and are just as American as anyone else," he said in a statement obtained by the Observer.

Trump and the White House have been routinely critical of illegal immigration, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions holding a news conference on the topic at the border in San Diego County, Calif.

Prior to Murphy signing the bill, his predecessor -- Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) -- enacted a policy allowing undocumented residents to pay the in-state tuition rate.


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