Atlanta immigration attorney Charles Kuck talks with plaintiffs outside the Fulton County Superior Court in December. MIGUEL MARTINEZ/MUNDO HISPANICO

Georgia judge: DACA, in-state tuition order not on hold amid appeal

While appealing Fulton Superior Chief Judge Gail Tusan’s order last week, the Board of Regents asked her to keep it on hold while the Georgia Court of Appeals considers the matter. Tusan said Wednesday that Georgia did not explain “the irreparable harm” it would face if her ruling went into effect during the appeal.

“The potential harm to plaintiffs in these circumstances is great and defendants have failed to show how supersedeas would preserve the rights of the parties concerned as opposed to endangering them,” Tusan wrote. “Therefore defendants’ application for supersedeas is denied.”

But it’s still unclear if and when her order will take effect as the state has also asked the Court of Appeals to keep it on hold during its appeal. A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office had no comment Wednesday.

At the center of the court battle is an Obama administration program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — which provides temporary protection from deportation and work permits for young immigrants who were brought here as children. Ten DACA recipients living in Georgia sued the Board of Regents in the Fulton Superior Court for the ability to pay the in-state rate.

The board is pointing to a 2008 state law says noncitizens cannot pay that rate unless they are “legally in this state.” The board’s tuition policy closely tracks that law. The plaintiffs in the case — assisted by local immigration attorney Charles Kuck — referred in court to federal records that say DACA recipients are lawfully present in the U.S.

“We remain confident that Judge Tusan’s order that the Board of Regents follow its own policy on instate tuition was correct and is unassailable in the courts,” Kuck said. “We also believe that this order was effective as of the date its issuance and that continuing to deny its effectiveness is irreparably harming the same students the Board of Regents should be helping further their education.”

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