The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Arizona colleges can’t give in-state tuition to young immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
The court gave a brief decision order that said justices unanimously agreed with the Arizona Court of Appeals’ ruling that said existing federal and state laws don’t allow the Maricopa Community Colleges to grant in-state tuition rates for DACA recipients. A full opinion will be released to the public by May 14.
The Arizona attorney general, Mark Brnovich, said, “It’s about time someone held (colleges) accountable, and that’s my job … to make sure you’re following the law.”
He said he’s sympathetic to the DACA recipients’ arguments because he’s a first-generation American. But his job isn’t to delve into policies, but to uphold the law as it’s written. “What makes this country unique and great … is because the rule of law means something,” Brnovich said
Currently, there are more than 2,000 DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers,” attending community college or a state university in Arizona, and they pay in-state rates. The new ruling will make these “Dreamers” pay much more to attend these schools, out of state rates are typically triple the rate of in-state tuition.
Korina Iribe, a DACA recipient and the director of advocacy at Undocumented Students for Education Equity, said: “Unfortunately, today, a decision was made to block access to education for deserving Arizona students.”
Karina Ruiz, the president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, said the group knew the ruling was a possibility but announced that it will be a massive burden for young immigrants who want a college education. Making DACA recipients pay non-resident rates means higher education is “going to be almost impossible,” Ruiz said.
The Arizona Dream Act Coalition will start raising money immediately to fund emergency scholarships for next semester, Ruiz said. “It’s a state of crisis.”
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Credit: AZ Central