Arizona court rejects in-state tuition for 'Dreamers'

Hannah Rogers
April 12, 2018

Illegal immigrants in Arizona who are covered under the hotly discussed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can no longer receive in-state tuition, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices unanimously upheld a June 2017 Arizona Court of Appeals finding that DACA students are ineligible for lower tuition typically given to state residents. On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that DACA recipients are ineligible for in-state tuition at Arizona public colleges.

While the Supreme Court did not elaborate on its decision - arguing that the full sentence would be published on May 14 - it did say that "the university colleges and other state universities will have all the time possible to plan those affected by the decision".

Regent Jay Heiler, who came up with the concept, said that eliminates any conflict with a 2006 voter-approved law which spells out that any person who is not a US citizen or "legal resident" or is "without lawful immigration status" is ineligible to be charged the same tuition at state colleges and universities available to residents.

"These Dreamers grew up attending Arizona schools, and want to pursue careers that will give back to Arizona's communities and boost our economy", he continued.

Bales said the high court's decision doesn't impede any action Arizona lawmakers may take to extend in-station tuition rates to undocumented students, although doing so may run afoul of a constitutional mandate barring the Legislature from undoing the will of voters.

Martinez said he would not be graduating ASU this May if not for his eligibility to pay in-state tuition. My parents can't afford that.

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"I was really sad and I was really depressed because I didn't think I was going to go to college", Yanez said.

The Supreme Court's decision marks the end of a protracted court battle over whether undocumented immigrants are entitled to in-state tuition.

The president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, Karina Ruiz, told the outlet that her group will start raising money to fund emergency scholarships because this is a "state of crisis".

This is not the first time that the state of Arizona has attacked undocumented young immigrants.

The Board of Regents already has a policy on the books, established before the universities begin charging resident tuition, that sets charges at 150 percent of the in-state rate for any student who graduated from an Arizona high school after attending school here for at least three years.

The AZ Supreme Court's decision to block Dreamers from in-state tuition is a awful blow to AZ students who want nothing more than to pursue their American dreams. And that, he said, means the state and its taxpayers would not be illegally subsidizing the cost of education for dreamers. Although the news is "very stressful" for her, she said she is more concerned about all those students who haven't even had a chance to start college. "In conjunction with the Arizona Board of Regents, we will comply with the ruling and support our DACA students to continue their education at the UA", Robbins said.

The Arizona Supreme Court has made a decision to put an additional obstacle to around 2,000 undocumented young students who arrived in the country as children (Dreamers), in their struggle to lead a normal American life. As President Obama forthrightly acknowledged when he established the program in 2012 (after repeatedly saying he did not have the authority to do so), DACA does not bestow legal status on beneficiaries.

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