DACA Students, Advocates React To Ruling On In-State Tuition

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 3:45pm
Updated: Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 7:52am

Just last week, many undocumented students in the country got some good news. President Trump said he would continue the deferred action program that’s allowing thousands of undocumented students in the country to stay — for now.

But on Tuesday, those students, often referred to as Dreamers, were dealt another blow.

An Arizona Appeals court ruled Tuesday that immigrant students in the country under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, are no longer eligible for lower in-state college tuition.

Tuesaday's decision reverses a 2015 decision that DACA recipients were considered legally in the country, and, therefore, they qualify for state benefits, like in-state tuition.

The judge ruled that, instead, federal law gives states discretion to choose which optional benefits to give these immigrants.

On Tuesday, outside in the heat at Phoenix College, dozens of DACA students and advocates spoke out. Ezequiel Santos said he has been in Arizona since he was 2 years old.

He says without in-state tuition, he won’t be able to continue his education at the Maricopa Community Colleges.

And, for more on this, we’re joined now by Daniel Rodriguez. He’s a former DACA student who was brought to this country when he was 7 years old. In 2004, he received a full-ride scholarship to ASU.

But, in 2006, he lost that scholarship when Arizona voters passed Prop 300, which is the law in effect here in this case. So, he fundraised much of the money to fund his education at ASU and in law school after he graduated.

Today, he’s an immigration attorney in the Valley.

The Maricopa Community College District was the first to offer in-state tuition to DACA students, and they’re one of the defendants in this case.

They're not saying much until their Governing Board meets next week where they’ll discuss whether or not to appeal this decision.

The Arizona Board of Regents, which sets policy for state universities, is also involved in this. They made a decision in 2015 to extend in-state tuition to DACA students, and this decision reverses that. So, now they say they’re reviewing the decision and considering other options for these students.

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

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