Friday, January 02, 2009

California illegal immigrant case being watched closely

Case could set precedent on in-state tuition laws

The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: December 28, 2008

THE future of Oklahoma’s law allowing undocumented students to attend college at in-state tuition rates may rest in unlikely hands: the California Supreme Court.

Advocates and opponents of California’s law expect to know within the next several weeks if that state’s high court will take up the issue of whether granting in-state tuition to students who aren’t legal residents violates federal law. A lower court first dismissed the 2005 lawsuit brought by a group of out-of-state students. Earlier this year, an appellate court disagreed with that decision and sent it back to the lower court.

If it takes the case, California’s top court won’t have a final say on the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s law. Decisions in other state courts aren’t binding here. But it could establish a precedent for whether in-state tuition laws throughout the country will withstand legal challenges. A defeat of the law in California would undoubtedly encourage legal action elsewhere.

In addition to Oklahoma and California, eight states have laws that grant in-state tuition to undocumented students if they meet certain requirements. Opponents of the laws have argued that undocumented students should receive that rate only if it’s available to all students — including those who traditionally must pay out-of-state rates.

Until last year, Oklahoma even allowed undocumented students access to financial aid at state expense although few participated. House Bill 1804, the state’s landmark immigration reform bill, changed that. Students already receiving state-funded scholarships and tuition waivers were grandfathered in, but the changes cut off help for future students who couldn’t prove legal residency.

That was a step backward for higher education in Oklahoma. But it was better than what happened in Arkansas, where officials disbanded the in-state rate for illegal immigrants and raised tuition even for current students. Private fundraising efforts are seeking to cushion the blow for affected students so they’ll be able to finish their educations.

Some states have gone so far as to ban undocumented students, according to Illegal immigrants can’t enroll at public universities in South Carolina or Alabama community colleges.

The country came to this potluck of policies regarding undocumented students in part because the federal government has been incredibly absent in reforming immigration laws. But there’s also a fair question about whether the feds have any business telling states how to go about college admissions and setting tuition rates.

Meantime, we’ll wait to see whether high courts at the state and federal levels wade into the issue and decide whether this land of opportunity will deny that hope to young people who became illegal immigrants only through the actions of their parents.

Some states have gone so far as to ban undocumented students, according to


  1. It is violation of law that illegal aliens are allowed into colleges at all. I would argue that it is in violation of the 'aiding and abetting' statute in the 1986 IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act)
    Even if illegal aliens were to pay out of state tuition, it would not cover the entire cost of their education because of capital costs, often conveniently left out (or purposely lessened) in the total costs calculations. Therefore, taxpayer subsidization of illegal aliens would occur.

    Also, why would any legislator allow an illegal alien to take a seat in college from a deserving American citizen or legal immigrant?

    Seats in colleges are a limited and highly coveted resource, why the hell would you put an illegal alien into one?

    Also, why should we be in the business of educating and training a group of people who are illegally here and cannot legally be employed?

  2. The fact is that things like college admittance and in-state tuition are just stepping stones to more things in the future. Just as giving a "free" primary and secondary education to all illegal alien kids was a stepping stone to them now demanding college admittance and in-state tuition, even at the detriment of Americans and legal residents who will lose their seat in the class in order to placate breakers of our laws.
    The reality is that illegal aliens should receive no benefits, including admittance to college. Zip. Zero. Nothing. Nada.

  3. The statements you hear from advocates for illegal aliens in favor of them having access to our colleges generally flow around their claim that better educated illegals will be more productive and will assimilate better into our society. This is not only fuzzy thinking, it is faulty logic. It’s very precept is that the illegal gets additional benefits to what they have already enjoyed by illegally remaining and operating here and gives a segment of them what they want – unfettered access to our higher education system (in addition to our primary education system that they have already utilized). This, of course, will be costly to the American taxpayer whether the illegal pays out of state tuition or not. It also deprives a deserving citizen or legal immigrant of the seat that the illegal would occupy. Another marketing campaign is that a child should not be penalized because of the ‘sins’ of their parents.

    Allowing access to higher education, however, allows the child to benefit from the fact their parents broke the law. Where does the rule of law fit into all of this? Actually, no where. The very act of allowing placement of an illegal alien into our colleges tears at the social fabric of our culture by favoritism to a group people who are out of compliance with our laws. These very same people would then be free to operate lawlessly living and working alongside of citizens and legal immigrants who have been required to abide by our laws. The dichotomy here is not only egregious, it is outrageous. It is anarchy.

    Seats in colleges are a limited and highly coveted resource so why should we put an illegal alien into one?

    Why should we be in the business of further educating and training a group of people who are illegally here and cannot legally be employed?

  4. Illegal aliens and their advocates like to state that the college age illegals (young adults) should not be punished because it was their parents who broke the law. But, allowing these illegal alien young adults to attend college and remain in the U.S. rewards them for their parents breaking the law. Another claim you often hear is that prohibiting illegal aliens from attending college is “inhumane”. This argument presumes that obtaining a taxpayer-subsidized college degree is a basic human right. Basic human rights, however, are universal and unchanging and the need or desire for a college degree is neither. This is not to say that obtaining a college education is not important. But is it more important than the rule of law, which illegal immigration undermines, not to mention the will of the people?

  5. How would you feel if your son or daughter's seat in college was taken by an illegal alien?

    How would your son or daughter feel if their seat in college was taken by an illegal alien?

    How would you feel knowing that your state will allow illegal aliens to attend college with taxpayer resources used even if they are required to pay out of state tuition because of the capital costs involved?

    How do you feel giving access to our institutions of higher learning to illegal aliens for further education and training to a group of people who are not even able to work in America legally?

  6. The rule of law is one prime determining factor that differentiates first world and third world countries. It mandates that illegal behavior be punished and never rewarded. Granting benefits, such as entry into our colleges to those in our country illegally offends this principle. Worse, it perverts the law by punishing those who have or are in the process of entering legally and discriminates against citizens who would be negatively affected. Even if I agreed (which I don't) that illegals should be allowed to attend our colleges, who would be willing to state unequivocally that not one single tax dollar would be used and not one single citizen or LEGAL immigrant would be ever denied admittance because of space availability?