State Capitol News
4:18 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Judge Allows State to Block In-State Tuition for DREAMers

A judge has given Gov. Jan Brewer the go-ahead to try to block policies that allow DREAMers to pay lower tuition at community colleges. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund at a 2010 press conference in Phoenix.
The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund at a 2010 press conference in Phoenix.
Credit AP/Elliot Spagat


Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson said the Arizona Constitution gives the state’s chief executive broad powers to direct the attorney general to “take care that laws be faithfully executed.” Anderson said that includes a 2006 voter-approved law that limits in-state tuition to citizens, legal residents and those with lawful immigration status. That paves the way for Attorney General Tom Horne, who has Brewer’s authorization, to sue the Maricopa colleges for deciding that students who are accepted into the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program meet the requirements for in-state-tuition if they live in the county.

But, Martha Gomez of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that, in the end, it won’t matter. She contends DACA recipients — those who arrived as children — have been granted permission by the Obama administration to stay. And, she said it doesn’t matter which of many possible terms the government uses for the status of immigrants.

“It doesn’t require any of those specific combinations. It only requires that you have legal permission to be here. If you have legal permission to be here, which they do, then you can get the benefit,” Gomez said.

The issue ultimately may have to be resolved by the state Supreme Court which will set the precedent for all the community colleges in the state.