Immigrants without legal status to continue fight for in-state tuition

Immigrants without legal status to continue fight for in-state tuition

The court battle over whether immigrants without legal status should be eligible for in-state tuition in Georgia is headed for extra innings.

The attorney for the 39 plaintiffs in the case, Charles Kuck, filed papers with the Georgia Court of Appeals Monday, indicating he plans to appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. The state Appeals Court rejected Kuck’s appeal this month.

The case focuses on immigrants who have been accepted into the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The program applies to immigrants who were illegally brought here as children and attended school here and haven’t been convicted of felonies. The federal government says people granted this relief are legally present in the U.S. Georgia’s in-state tuition policy requires “lawful presence.”

The plaintiffs in the case argue DACA recipients would be able to afford college, get better jobs and contribute more to the state’s economy if Georgia would let them pay in-state tuition rates, which are several thousand dollars below the out-of-state rates. Critics say taxpayer-funded public benefits should be reserved for people with legal status in the U.S.

State attorneys have repeatedly fought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing sovereign immunity shields the Board of Regents from it. The state Appeals Court upheld that argument.

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