Professors back in-state tuition for immigrants without legal status


Professors back in-state tuition for immigrants without legal status

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Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico
Undocumented students at the Capitol last year protested a Regents policy that locks them out of the five largest universities in Georgia.

A group of 42 immigration law professors from across the nation filed court papers this week in support of a lawsuit seeking in-state tuition at Georgia’s universities for immigrants living without legal status in the U.S.

Among the professors who have signed onto the brief is Joseph Rosen, an immigration attorney who teaches at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

At issue is a federal program that has granted the 39 plaintiffs a temporary reprieve from deportation. The federal government says people granted that benefit are legally present in the U.S., which is what Georgia’s in-state tuition policy requires.

“It is not federal law that grants them this eligibility, but Georgia law and policy on their face,” Michael Olivas, who teaches immigration law at the University of Houston and serves on the board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote in the professors’ brief.

Also this week, state attorneys filed papers seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program doesn’t affect Georgia’s tuition policies or give the plaintiffs any rights to in-state tuition. State attorneys are also arguing that sovereign immunity shields the Georgia Board of Regents from the lawsuit.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger has scheduled a Tuesday hearing for the lawsuit.

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