Suit over illegal aliens getting tuition breaks
Edumacation: More suits like this are needed, no way an illegal alien should get tuition breaks that citizens or legal residents cannot get without going thru a process.
|California's public universities and colleges violate federal law by charging illegal immigrants lower in-state tuition rates, discriminating against U.S. citizens from out of state who are charged a higher rate, according to a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court in Woodland. Lawyers representing dozens of students across the state -- and potentially thousands more who pay out-of-state tuition to attend the state's public colleges and universities -- declared that those students are penalized by the state and denied public benefits given illegal immigrants. The suit names regents of the University of California, trustees of the California State University and governors of the California Community Colleges as defendants. ....Officials and lawyers for the state's vast public university system immediately dismissed and challenged the lawsuit's claims, saying that California, in fact, allows out-of-state students to claim an exemption and pay in-state tuition, the same as undocumented immigrant students, if they meet the requirements of AB 540. In the University of California system, for example, an estimated 70 percent of students who claim an exemption and pay in-state tuition -- although they are from out of state -- are U.S. citizens. In addition, to qualify for in-state tuition, anyone can establish residency in California by living in the state one year and a day. In 2004, there were 208,000 students in the UC system, and 1,340 of them benefited under AB 540, all U.S. citizens or legal residents, according to Christopher Patti, an attorney representing the UC regents. ``The UC policy is consistent with state law,'' Patti said, ``which both the attorney general and the state Legislature determined is not in violation of federal law.'' Rosa Perez, chancellor at San Jose-Evergreen Community College District, argued that undocumented immigrants have a tougher state residency requirement to fulfill -- three years in the state and a high school diploma. In addition, undocumented students must sign a document saying they are in the process of legalizing their status. ``I don't know what this lawsuit is talking about,'' Perez said. ``It's inaccurate.'' ``It's another attempt to confuse the public,'' she said, ``and sway people to become anti-immigrant.'' The heart and core of the lawsuit is a simple claim, Brady said: Illegal immigrants, no matter how long they've lived in California, are not ``residents'' of the state, and are not entitled to in-state tuition rates. What's more, the state's requirement that a student, in order to qualify for the benefits of AB 540 be ``without lawful immigration status'' inherently excludes U.S. citizens, the lawsuit said.|