Monday, December 9, 2019

California Supreme Court Rules Undocumented Students Eligible for In-state Tuition

California’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that undocumented students in California, who complete at least three years of high school and graduate, will be eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

Although undocumented students will still remain ineligible for state or federal financial aid, the ruling could save students up to $12,000 a year in comparison to out-of-state students.

“This law makes higher education affordable for so many students who have the added difficulty of not being eligible for federal financial aid,” Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said. “If they are both ineligible for aid and then face higher tuition rates, it becomes virtually impossible for students to go on to higher education.”

The court based its decision over the 2001 state law, in part, on the argument that it does not conflict with a federal prohibition on education benefits for illegal immigrants based on residency, since United States citizens from other states who attend high school in California may also benefit.

In the court’s opinion, Justice Ming W. Chin, wrote, “It cannot be the case that states may never give a benefit to unlawful aliens without giving the same benefit to all American citizens.”

The ruling did not come without criticism from conservatives, namely Kris Kobach, legal counsel for the opposing side and the author of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law.  La Plaza has extensively covered Kobach’s push of a nationwide anti-immigrant agenda.

“I think the pendulum is definitely swinging in favor of enforcement of the law and discouraging illegal immigration,” Mr. Kobach said. “I am confident this is not the last word on the subject.”

He vowed that his side would appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court.

NY Times