No In-State Tuition for Arizona DREAMers, Court Rules

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File Photo: Bob Price/Breitbart Texas

An appellate court in Arizona ruled that DREAMers cannot receive in-state tuition. Each state can determine whether it can give these tax-supported benefits, the court held.

Under the ruling, illegal immigrants that have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status may not pay the in-state tuition rate.

“The decision is key because in-state tuition is yet another benefit that acts as a magnet for illegal aliens choosing to make the reckless and irresponsible decision to bring their children illegally across our sovereign borders,” Immigration Reform Law Institute’s (IRLI) executive director and general counsel, Dale Wilcox told Breitbart Texas.

Arizona voters passed Proposition 300 (“Prop 300”) in November 2006 which incorporated federal law to prohibit these postsecondary education benefits to non-qualified aliens who are residents of the state.

While the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) passed by Congress in 1996 generally allows the states to determine what public benefits are available for illegal immigrants, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) “does not allow any state to provide non-qualified aliens with postsecondary education benefits based upon their residence within the state.”

The appellate court noted that the Obama Administration decided to defer deportation of illegal aliens who entered the country as children – the Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. One of the defendants in the lawsuit, the Maricopa County Community College District Board, began accepting employment authorization documents (EADs) issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as evidence that they qualified for residence-based, in-state tuition.

“The decision is certainly a victory for those Americans who appreciate and understand what a law-and-order society really looks like,” the general counsel for IRLI told Breitbart Texas.

Wilcox added, “Disturbingly, there have been several courts that have attempted to codify DACA-recipients as somehow being a lawful and benefits-eligibility class of persons, much like citizens and legal residents. But this is absolutely not the case when one looks honestly at our democratically-enacted laws.”

“DACA-recipients are illegal aliens, and they are still absolutely removable under the law,” the immigration expert and lawyer said.

The vice president of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Korina Iribe, is one of the approximately 28,000 DACA recipients in Arizona, KJZZ reported.

She told Maricopa Community Colleges’ KJZZ, “It’s a road block.”

“I know that we’re going to continue to band together and fight to make sure that we continue to have in-state tuition,” she stated.

A spokesman for the college district was reported to release a statement saying, “The Maricopa County Community College District is built on a foundation of providing access to higher education for diverse students and communities, and we continue to be committed to that mission.”

Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One’s Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones wrote the majority opinion. It reversed the opinion of the lower Superior Court in Maricopa County. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich appealed the trial court’s orders denying the State’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and granting summary judgment in favor of the college district.

The Supreme Court of Arizona is the next higher appellate court and the college district and other plaintiffs can appeal to that court.

After the ruling, @OneArizona, a non-partisan coalition of 19 organizations “dedicated to Latino voter registration, immigration, economic justice and education,” tweeted, “We have been brave before and we will be brave again and again.”

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


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