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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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3/21/2013 9:31:00 AM
'Dreamers' may get lower out-of-state tuition

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Board of Regents will start the process next month to see if there are ways that some illegal immigrant "dreamers' can qualify for lower tuition than they now have to pay.

A 2006 voter-approved measure spells out that anyone who is not a citizen or legal resident who wants to attend a state university must pay the higher out-of-state tuition. ' Rick Myers, the board's chairman, said that has pretty much tied the hands of universities.

But Myers said last year's decision by the Obama administration to grant "deferred action' to some illegal immigrants may provide a legal basis for the board to decide that these students can qualify for some rate higher than resident tuition but less than what those from other states are charged.

"I know there's a desire on the board to offer education to as many people who graduate from our schools as possible,' Myers said.

Gov. Jan Brewer, who sits on the board, will not block the move.

"The governor recognizes the president has caused a lot of confusion with his unilateral executive action regarding this population,' said gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson. "It's understandable that the regents may want to study this issue further.'

The move comes as the Regents are scheduled to set tuition next month at the state's three universities.

All of the schools have proposed what they say are small increases, in the area of 3 to 5 percent.

But there is a sharp disparity between what is charged to residents versus others.

For example, the University of Arizona proposed non-resident tuition and fees for undergraduates next year is $27,073. That is what now has to be paid by anyone without legal status.

Residents would be charged just $10,391.

The 2006 law, approved by a 2-1 margin, says those who are not citizens and "without lawful immigration status' cannot be classified as in-state students, even if they meet all other residency requirements.

Myers said he reads that law to make in-state tuition legally off limits to those who have deferred action status. He said, though, there now may be some legal basis for something in between.

"Clearly, we're not going to do anything that's not in concert with Arizona law or the federal law,' Myers said.

But he pointed out that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released documents detailing what it sees as the legal standing of those who qualify. And one of them specifically says that anyone approved for the program "is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to be present in the United States.'

Myers said board members want staffers to "dig into' those federal memos.

"What does that open up in terms of flexibility within the law,' he asked.

The federal program, formally known as "Deferred Action Childhood Arrival,' entitles those who were brought here before age 18 and not yet 30 as of last year's announcement date to remain without fear of deportation if they meet certain other qualifications. Those approved for the program also would be allowed to work in this country legally.

There are estimates that possibly 80,000 Arizonans could qualify.

Myers said the USCIS memo, issued in January, provided some "clarity' to the question of their status.

The action comes as Brewer is fighting a lawsuit in federal court over the question of whether those granted deferred action status are entitled to have state-issued licenses to drive.

Legally speaking, the issues are unrelated. In fact, the Arizona law requiring those wanting a driver's license to prove the person's presence in the United States "is authorized under federal law' predates the tuition law by a full decade.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: Reese May

Wow!!!!! What a firestorm of debate. I realize that immagration is a sensitive subject, but the bottom line is that if you are here illegally then you should be deported, period. Let's enforce the law, duh!! What to do with the children that were born here? I don't know. The federal and state governments, will not deal with the problem or enforce the law. So their solution is to change the law. That is where my conservative bretheren and the progressives differ. Maybe the availabilty of education is not the right place to have this discussion, because the point that I was trying to make is that every time we turn around there is a new rule that benefits those who do not, or will not, play by the rules ( or worse, those who take advantage of the loopholes left by the morons who wrote the rules) and it is those of us who do play by the rules that get screwed. Personally I don't care if you are conservative or progressive. We all need to work together to fix what is wrong with America, and Lord knows there is enough that needs fixin'. And yes if I send emails to McCain and Flake and I will get back a form letter, and that is part of what's wrong, but at least I let them know that I am here and I am watching them. Maybe all of you should do the same. Maybe then WE will be heard. And finally to Gaia Gurl, we are all very proud of your daughter's accomplishments and kudos to you for raising an intelligent and assertive young lady, however you know nothing of my son who graduated high school with a 4.0 and completed in excess of 30 college credits upon graduation. He is now attending one of the premere unversities in the country without any help from you or any other taxpayer. Next time stick to the point.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: @ Ryan Jensen

You need to read more carefully. These are not "children born in the US to parents who were in this country illegally." They are "those who were brought here before age 18 and [are] not yet 30."

These are not 'anchor babies' with automatic citizenship.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: M J

The libbies on here don't care what tuition for your kid costs. They are only casting about for more votes, and they figure that the more stuff they give away (esp. with other people's money) the more votes they will get.
The phoney libbies on here don't care about anyone's legal status - legal or illegal, they don't care about morals - they say they do, but only if it advances their cause, and they have no principals. If Hispanics had no voting power, then the phoney libbies on here would not give a hoot in hell about them.The ONLY thing they care about is power. It is all about control. What do you think obamacare is all about .... it ain't about quality healthcare - it's about power and control .... look at that troll mayor in NYC ..... power mad like the rest of the libbies.
Ryan Jensen wrote, "That your son - whatever his ancestry - has chosen to attend college out of state has nothing to do with this argument," is right.
The real argument is .... do you want to stay free .... or to be a slave to the gubmint.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

Arizona is already purple . . . there are more registered Independents than Republicans or Democrats.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

That's funny, my daughter attends school for FREE. But then she got grants and scholarships, many based on her GPA.

Maybe YOUR kids should have paid better
attention in SCHOOL?

College courses were FREE to her in High School through the program that was on the FRONT PAGE of this newspaper . . . just the other day!

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: reese may... may want to consider... .

that it was their choice to send the kid to an out of state school... knowing it will cost a lot more. than in state.

and as it sits the people that 'should not even be here' are paying 27,000 vs 10,000 more or less... or almost 2/3 more... so yeah...

seeing as alot of those you don't want here (specifically the ones that had no choice to be here that this article points out) had no part in it and are otherwise productive members of society... that are on the path to being here legally... do you want well educated legal people or the opposite?

and yes- please proceed... to call/mail mccain and flake... tell them to keep it up, that way the upcoming latino majority will keep voting democrat until AZ turns from red to purple- then blue... ^)

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

@ Reese May

To answer your question, no...that is not what this article is saying at all.

The “dreamers” are children born in the US to parents who were in this country illegally. Yes, perhaps those parents “are not supposed to be here,” but where are the kids supposed to be? You can’t “send them back” because they are “from” here.

That your son - whatever his ancestry - has chosen to attend college out of state has nothing to do with this argument.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Holmes

The only thing these "Dreamers" should be getting is notice to leave the US immediately or face imprisonment. Oh yeah, ICE will just release them. Sheriff Joe should have a bus waiting at the AZ ICE headquarters, where these foreign citizens can be deported back to their country of origin. If I were to illegally immigrate into Mexico, they would probably imprison, extort, and possibly even torture me, but give me a discount on education? Ha!

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Bad Gremlin

You can write to them all you want. You'll just get a confirmation form letter and the peace of mind that you tried to do something about this mess.

What a world we live in that gives the invaders more rights & privileges that the civilians.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Contact the city your children want to go to college and hire a tutor in that city with the understanding the tudors address will be used
as a residence.
A new cottage industry just materialized.If theres anybody out there that wants to go to
Arizona State let me know.
How many ways are there to skin a cat.Hundreds.Start at the community college
level if you must to get a relatives address to
borrow and move your way in.You have to think
like an illegal to become legal Makes perfect
sense to me,fire with fire mentality.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: How dare you play favorites with illegals!!!!! My daughter gets no breaks and she was born here.


Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Reese May

So what you're telling me is that the federal government, and the state of Arizona, want to give discounted tuition to people who are not even supposed to be here while my son, who by the way is fourth generation American, has to pay almost twice the tuition to attend his college because he is not a resident of the state that the college is in. Are you freakin' kidding me? "We the People" need to stop putting up with this. I, for one will be writing McCain and Flake TODAY!!!

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