While opinion continues to be split when it comes to the controversial topic of immigration reform, there are a number of welcoming developments that prove to be encouraging for undocumented immigrants. One of the positive developments that impacts immigrants involves a recent ruling that has been made in favor of the individuals who are covered by the DREAM act. The Development, Relief, and Education for alien minors act is a legislative proposal that grants conditional residency status to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before they reached the age of 16. Undocumented immigrants who fall under this category must live in the country for a minimum of 5 years, graduate from a U.S. high school or obtain a GED, demonstrate good moral character, and pass a series of background checks and reviews before they can transition from a conditional residency status to permanent residency under the DREAM act. Now, a judge in Arizona has ruled that the immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to pay the same tuition fee in state schools as other Arizona residents do.
The decision comes as a satisfying conclusion to a case that involved the Maricopa Community College system. Shortly after President Obama unveiled his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Maricopa Community College system began offering in – state tuition to immigrants who qualified for the DREAM act. The decision attracted the attention of Attorney General Tom Horne who felt that the dreamers did not have sufficient rights to qualify for paying in – state tuition. Horne cited Proposition 300 as the basis for his case. Proposition 300 requires students who are not permanent residents to pay nonresident tuition. Nonresident tuition more than doubles the rate of in – state tuition.
In response to Horne’s assertions, Arizona judge Arthur Anderson ruled that the dreamers do qualify for in – state tuition given the fact that Obama’s DACA program allows them to apply for work permits. Anderson states that the work permit issued for these undocumented immigrants is enough documentation to prove that their presence in the country is legal, contrary to Horne’s assertions. Anderson solidified his decision by asserting that the federal government is the sole entity that gets to decide whether an immigrant’s presence in the United States is legal or otherwise. For years, a number of states (Arizona being one of them) have tried to weigh in on the legal status of undocumented immigrants. Now, Anderson’s decision squarely places the responsibility on the federal government’s shoulders.
Cases involving the rights of undocumented immigrants require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.