On Tuesday, a judge in Phoenix decided that dreamers should be allowed
to enjoy the same in-state tuition as every other Arizona resident. Maricopa
County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson found that it is the federal
government who decides who is lawfully in the United States – not
Judge Anderson’s ruling goes against the state Attorney General’s
Office, who argues that the so called dreamers included in the Obama administration’s
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are in America illegally.
Anderson ruled that it’s not up to the states to decide who is in
the U.S. legally, which is what Arizona has been trying to do for some time.
In 2012, President Obama prohibited the Department of Homeland Security
from deporting certain undocumented youths who came to the United States
illegally as children. Under the program, qualifying undocumented youths
are able to apply for work permits, but they are not granted a path to
Anderson said that the state cannot pick and choose when it will consider
that DACA recipients are lawfully present, and when it will not. Anderson
contended that adding employment authorizations was an appropriate documentation
of lawful presence.
Shortly after Obama issued his executive order, the Maricopa Community
College system began offering in-state tuition to dreamers. However, under
a 2006-voter-enacted law known as Proposition 300, Attorney General Tom
Horne argued that dreamers don’t have the right to pay in-state-tuition.
Under Proposition 300, students who are not U.S. citizens are permanent
residents, and do not have lawful immigration status must pay nonresident tuition.
On Monday, a day before Anderson’s ruling, the state university Board
of Regents announced that it would consider reducing college tuition for
dreamers. Currently, nonresidents pay more than double for tuition at
Arizona State University. Under the proposal, dreamers would be allowed
to pay 150 percent of the tuition instead.
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