Arizona Appeals Court: DREAMers Not Eligible For In-State Tuition

Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 2:20pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 8:50am
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Korina Iribe is a DACA student at Arizona State University.
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
An Arizona appeals court has ruled that immigrants in DACA are not eligible for reduced in-state tuition.

An Arizona appeals court has ruled that immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) are not eligible for reduced in-state tuition. The presiding judge said that’s because each state has the discretion to choose which benefits to give these students.

Officials with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office defended the decision saying in-state tuition is only for those with “lawful presence” in the country, which they argue is different than “lawful immigration status.”

The Maricopa County Community College District was the first college system in Arizona to begin offering in-state tuition to its roughly 2,000 DACA students. Matt Hasson, a district spokesman, said in a prepared statement that the governing board is reviewing the ruling with outside counsel right now.

"The Maricopa County Community College District is built on a foundation of providing access to higher education for diverse students and communities, and we continue to be committed to that mission," he said.

ASU student Korina Iribe is the vice president of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition and one of the roughly 28,000 DACA recipients in Arizona. She added, while the news is disappointing, it’s not entirely surprising.

"It’s a road block," Iribe said. "I know that we’re going to continue to band together and fight to make sure that we continue to have in-state tuition."

It’s not clear yet if the Maricopa County Community College District will be appealing the decision. The question will go before the governing board in an executive session next week.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa Community Colleges.

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