Lawsuit Seeks to Prevent In-State Tuition for DACA Participants

Apr 25, 2014

An assistant attorney general told a judge today that Gov. Jan Brewer is entitled to go to court to enforce pretty much any state law she wants, even those that don’t involve state government. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Attorney General Tom Horne

The fight stems from the decision by the Maricopa Community College board to allow those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to pay in-state tuition if they meet other residency requirements. Attorney General Tom Horne sued, saying that’s prohibited by a 2006 ballot measure. Mary O’Grady representing the college, said Horne has no right to sue the independently elected college board. So, Horne then got a letter from the governor authorizing him to sue on her behalf. O’Grady said that’s irrelevant.

“Her executive authority doesn’t extend to telling MCCD or any other subdivision how they ought to do stuff. She can express her opinion. But that’s not how the statutes are set up. She’s not in charge.” O’Grady said.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie Cooper did not dispute that the college is not a state agency and that its board members do not report to the governor. But, she said the Arizona Constitution gives the governor certain powers.

“It says, ‘He shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed.’ That is in the governor’s powers and duties, Article 5, Section 4. It’s not limited by power over executive agencies,” Cooper said.

What Judge Arthur Anderson decides will determine not only if this lawsuit continues, but whether Horne can sue other community colleges that are also offering in-state tuition to dreamers brought here illegally as children.