In 2014, DACA recipients became eligible for college-based in-state tuition, but earlier this year an appeals judge ruled that the DACA recipients had no legal status in the US, and therefore was not eligible for state benefits.
Larkin and Lacey of the Frontera Fund say many states are ruling against DACA students, saying they do not have the legal state presence required, even though these students have attended and graduated from a state high school.
Approval Didn’t Last Long
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin say that DACA students were elated when an Arizona Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson of Maricopa County ruled in favor of in-state tuition rates.
The case began in 2012 when then-Attorney General, Tom Horne was sued for breaking a 2006 policy prohibiting undocumented immigrants to receive state benefits. Just two years later, the appeals court overturned Judge Anderson’s decision.
Larkin and Lacey say this ruling affects approximately 28,000 DACA recipients residing in Arizona. Appeals Court Judge, Kenton Jones ruled that federal immigration law allows each state to decide on optional benefits for beneficiaries of DACA. Judge Jones added that the Arizona law prohibits state tuition for anyone who does not have a legal status.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin point out that it is a big difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, and this is occurring nationwide. Thanks to several universities, like the University of Miami, DACA recipients can cover tuition.
Universities Implementing New Policies
The University of Miami announced the expansion of a current scholarship program, called “U Dreamers” for eligible undocumented students with financial needs who want to attend college. This expanded program will go into effect the autumn of 2018. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin |LinkedIn
Financial assistance will be available up to $25,000 per year, and guaranteed for four years. It will cover tuition, room and board, and books.
President Trump had indicated that one of his first acts when he reached the White House was to overturn executive actions President Barack Obama had put into place, including DACA. The administration has been working to overturn every action involving immigrants.
The University of Georgia has also denied state educational benefits to undocumented immigrants. In 2008, Georgia passed measure SB492, denying state tuition to undocumented youth who want to study at Georgia public universities In 2015, The Institute of Policy and Budget of Georgia released a report saying that not allowing undocumented students to pay resident tuition, costs the state about 10 million dollars a year.
According to Larkin and Lacey, these students attend school, get good grades, and many even pay state taxes at part-time jobs. It doesn’t make sense that they cannot receive benefits for tuition. Since 2015, the Frontera Fund has been campaigning to help mend an unjust immigration system. The organization works to raise awareness of a broken system and keep families together.
As part of a coordinated campaign with numerous grassroots organizations, the Frontera Fund founders, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights of immigrants and migrant workers.