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Court Overturns Arizona In-State Tuition for DACA-mented Dreamers

 

Yesterday, an appeals court ruled that DACA-mented Dreamers will no longer be able to receive Arizona in-state tuition.

The appeals court overturned a 2015 decision finding that Dreamers with DACA status are legally present, and said that federal laws allow each state to decide which benefits DACA-mented Dreamers can access. Under a 2006 proposition, the state of Arizona opposes in-state tuition for undocumented youth at public institutions of higher education.

There are some 28,000 Dreamers with DACA status living in Arizona, and this decision means that tuition could double for them starting this fall. As Karina Ruiz, board president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, told the Arizona Republic, it took twelve years for her to finish college because she could only take one class at a time. She continued:

This is all hate. There is nothing else. There is no reason for the state to be fighting students that want to get educated. This is wrong. The state should be using the resources and the money and the tax dollars on fighting for things like teachers’ pay instead of fighting kids who just want to go to school.

The decision comes just a week after Dreamers around the country celebrated DACA’s fifth birthday, and highlighted all the accomplishments, from degrees completed to jobs acquired to houses bought, that deferred action has helped them earn. Though advocates say they will pursue an appeal, perhaps through the Arizona Supreme Court, yesterday’s ruling takes Arizona in the opposite direction of where other states are heading. Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Nebraska all allow Dreamers to pay in-state tuition rates.

Yesterday, advocates with One Arizona, the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, and Undocumented Students for Education Equity held a press conference denouncing the in-state tuition decision. View their livestream and tweets below: