Gov. Chris Christie signed a compromise measure into law today that grants in-state college tuition rates to eligible undocumented immigrants, effective immediately.

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New Jersey's version of the DREAM Act, though, eliminates the provision that the same illegal students could apply for financial aid.

The revised measure easily passed both houses of the legislature Thursday after Christie conditionally vetoed the original bill.

Students taken into the country illegally could end up saving thousands of dollars once the bill becomes law. However, DREAM Act advocates and Democrats in Trenton expressed disappointment that the compromise resulted in only a "half victory."

"We are begrudgingly accepting a conditional veto," said Giancarlo Tello, a tuition equality advocate from Belleville. "We are committed to coming back next year."

"You can't be a second-class citizen if you're not a citizen in the first place," Christie said, responding to complaints that he was treating illegal immigrant students as second-class citizens. "I'm sorry, but they're getting a lot more than they've ever gotten before."

The governor had expressed concern that allowing financial aid would turn New Jersey into a "magnet state" for foreign-born students in other states.

Governor's Office