Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fallout on California College and University Fees Decision

We reported earlier this week on the California court decision on in-state fees for undocumented students.  The decision has provoked considerable commentary and many news stories. reports on the fallout.

The National Immigration Law Center declared that the "California court ruling on in-state tuition is not the last word."  Here is the NILC press release about the case:

On Monday, September 15, a California Court of Appeal panel overturned the Superior Court's decision dismissing a challenge to AB 540, California's in-state tuition law. Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, No. C054124 (CA3 Sept. 15, 2008). The Court of Appeal's ruling, if allowed to stand, would return the case to the Superior Court for trial. The court did not enjoin or block AB 540. The law remains in effect. Similar laws in others states were not affected by the ruling. The decision will likely be appealed and any final decision is likely to come from the California Supreme Court. AB 540 provides that students who have attended at least 3 years of high school in California, graduated from a California school and meet certain other conditions may attend state colleges and universities at the same rate that is charged to state residents. Some students who qualify for AB 540 are undocumented immigrants who live in California. Others are U.S. citizens who attended school in California in the past but are now unable to establish state residence, such as those who live in a neighboring state or those who recently returned to California after living elsewhere. In fact, about 70 percent of AB 540 students attending the University of California are U.S. citizens who do not meet the state residency requirements for in-state tuition purposes. Despite these facts, the Martinez Court found that AB 540 confers a benefit "based on residence" and therefore conflicts with a federal law that precludes such a benefit for undocumented immigrants unless the same benefit is available under the same conditions to U.S. citizens who are not residents of the state. The opinion is internally inconsistent, and conflicts with other court decisions that have addressed the in-state tuition issue. It would be extremely unfortunate if this intermediate court decision were upheld. The affected students are talented high achievers, who grew up in California and persevered against the odds to graduate from high school and meet the qualifications for higher education. They include valedictorians, class presidents, and student prizewinners, among others. California can ill afford to deny these students the opportunity to complete their education. The elected representatives and governor of California as well as those of nine other states - where the majority of undocumented immigrants live - have determined that it is a wise policy to charge these students an affordable tuition. Monday's decision is only one step in the process of resolving the legality of AB 540. The decision is based on a flawed legal analysis and we are hopeful that it will be reversed. The Martinez case adds urgency to efforts to pass the federal DREAM Act and thereby address the status of undocumented immigrant students who have grown up in this country. The federal DREAM Act would provide immigration relief to those who entered the U.S. more than 5 years ago if and when they graduate from high school. It would allow them to become permanent residents and eventually citizens if they go to college or serve in the military.


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Thank God for the brave judges on the California Court of Appeal. This is a tremendous victory for the attrition through enforcement strategy. If these "undocumented" students are so special, why can they not return to their own countries to make positive contributions for their own people? Is it even morally permissible to expropriate these precious human resources from the (generally) underdeveloped countries from whence these children came? The California Court of Appeal has struck a decisive blow against the illegal alien slave trade and its masters and enablers. The DREAM Act will (thankfully) never be passed unless and until the U.S. economy recovers (maybe in two or three years). In the meantime, onward and upward with attrition through enforcement, one court victory, one detained "immigrant," one reinstated removal order and one unemployable "worker" at a time!

Posted by: Susan Goya | Sep 18, 2008 6:18:51 AM

'...conflicts with other court decisions that have addressed the in-state tuition issue.'

Oh, really? I thought this was the very first ruling on the merits--am I wrong?

Again, this is how I read it--even if the plaintiffs prevail at trial, illegal aliens do not lose their in-state tuition, the out-of-state students would have to start GETTING in-state tuition. The federal law currently being thwarted by California statute says nothing about denying in-state tuition to illegal aliens.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 19, 2008 3:39:18 AM

“Our mission is to provide broad access to education. A court ruling that would limit access to students is disappointing to us,” he said.

It wouldn't have to limit access--it could increase it for out-of-state students. All you would have to do is equalize out-of-state tuition with whatever you want to charge illegal alien students. Until then, they could not legally receive the current lower tuition than out-of-state students are charged. I'm sure the California legislature would quickly pass legislation to keep illegal alien tuition the same as it is now but the loss of revenue from higher out-of-state tuition would eventually have to made up somewhere. Tuition for all regardless of residence would need to be increased to keep the books in balance--unless you want to allocate more to education in the state budget. That means higher taxes or even higher deficits. I'm sure Arnold will think of something, perhaps another gigantic bond initiative.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 19, 2008 4:26:47 AM

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