Arizona Dreamers No Longer Granted in-State Tuition

Arizona Supreme Court rules Arizona colleges can't give in-state tuition to DACA recipients

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not eligible to receive in-state tuition rates at Arizona colleges.

As a result of the court's ruling, which will impact upwards of 2,000 DACA recipients who attend community colleges or state universities and currently pay in-state rates, so-called "Dreamers" could now have to pay double - or even triple - what they are currently spending for college.

The Arizona Supreme Court, agreeing with the Court of Appeals, decided that no current federal or state law allows the granting of in-state tuition to DACA beneficiaries.

The court said it issued its brief order in order to allow colleges and students affected as much time as possible to plan. The justices did not explain their ruling, promising a full written opinion later.

Furthermore, and according to a document cited by the media, "the in-state rate for undergraduate students at Arizona State University is $10,640 - compared to $26,470 for non-resident students".

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District. Yet the academic future of 18-year-old Yanez and thousands of other Dreamers in Arizona is in doubt.

DACA recipient and director of advocacy at Undocumented Students for Education Equity Korina Iribe said the ruling will cause a decrease in students at Arizona's universities and community colleges.

Like most students, when Carlos Yanez was applying to college, he faced the question of how to pay for it. My parents can't afford that.

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Sisa said she feels "incredibly disappointed in the state of Arizona" after the decision.

"While people can disagree what the law should be, I hope we all can agree that the attorney general must enforce the law as it is, not as we want it to be", Brnovich said in a statement on Monday.

Sec. 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 states explicitly that, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident".

Genesis Egurrola, the vice president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, got the news about the Supreme Court in her inbox shortly after leaving class on Monday.

Where it all fell apart was the attempt by O'Grady, in defending in-state tuition for dreamers, to convince the Supreme Court that "lawful presence" means the same thing as "lawful immigration status", the language used in the 2006 law to deny in-state tuition to dreamers.

Carlos Yanez, a student at ASU studying biomedical sciences, said in a news conference that he is "really scared" about the decision. She said she found out that she was undocumented when SB1070 was being debated in the state legislature.

The Arizona Supreme Court has made a decision to put an additional obstacle to around 2,000 undocumented young students who arrived in the country as children (Dreamers), in their struggle to lead a normal American life.

"Unfortunately, today, a decision was made to block access to education for deserving Arizona students", said Iribe.

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