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Laws on immigrant tuition vary

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Indiana Lawyer Focus

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently made statements at a town hall meeting in support of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants – a courtesy the Lone Star State has offered for the past decade.

In a speech at the 2001 U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, Perry said “We must say to every Texas child learning in a Texas classroom, ‘We don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get there.’” He went on to say that children of undocumented workers in Texas were deserving of a resident tuition rate. “Those young minds are a part of a new generation of leaders, the doors of higher education must be open to them.”

But other state governments – including Indiana’s – disagree with Perry’s point of view.

A patchwork of laws

Since the 1996 creation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, state governments have debated the wording of IIRIRA Section 505, which addresses college tuition rates for undocumented immigrants.

Without any accompanying congressional report language to provide guidance, states developed their own approaches for handling this touchy subject. California, New Mexico and Texas – along with nine other states – enacted laws that extended in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants. Oklahoma has since amended its law, leaving the decision on in-state tuition to the state’s Board of Regents, which so far has continued to allow it for undocumented immigrants.

This year, Indiana became the fourth, and northernmost, state to pass a law that prohibits in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, joining Arizona, Colorado and Georgia. Two additional states – South Carolina and Alabama – have been sued for their laws prohibiting undocumented immigrants from enrolling in their state-funded colleges.

In Indiana, undocumented immigrant students are immediately feeling the impact of Public Law 209 as they struggle to find funding for college or find they have no choice but to drop out. Angela Adams, an immigration attorney at Lewis & Kappes, thinks Indiana could benefit from studying how other states have been able to enforce immigration policies, yet provide opportunities for immigrants who want to become educated, civically engaged members of society. Texas, she said, is a good model to study.

immigration“They’ve got many generations of Latino leaders. We don’t have that yet. We don’t have immigrants that are integrated into our leadership positions. I think that’s part of it,” she said. “But I also think Texas is a border state, and while you have issues like border enforcement, you also have the other side of the coin – you see the potential, you see the need. If we don’t educate these kids, what are they going to do?”

Research and findings

In April 2011, the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island released its report, “The Effects of In-State Tuition for Non-Citizens: A Systematic Review of the Evidence.”

The report found flaws in arguments both for and against in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. The institute’s review found little support for the claim that providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants is a financial burden for states. The two studies that support that claim were produced by the Federation for Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies – both known for advocating stricter immigration laws. Neither report included information about statistical significance or standard error.

The Latino Policy Institute found that further research must be conducted to adequately assess the fiscal impact on states of tuition policies for undocumented immigrants. It also found that increasing enrollment rates for Latino non-citizens could lead to decreased high-school dropout rates, as many Latino non-citizens – knowing they may never attain a college education – may lose hope and drop out of high school.

In its June 2011 issue brief, the Alliance for Excellent Education reported that 7,000 students drop out of high school every day, adding up to just more than 1 million annually. The brief said that government spending for people who lack a high school diploma is typically greater than it is for those with higher levels of education because dropouts are more likely to be incarcerated and/or receive welfare or public health care.

Nationwide in 2009, the high school dropout rate for Hispanic youth was 17.6 percent – more than twice the national average of 8.1 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The DREAM Act

Young, undocumented immigrants have been pinning their hopes on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which creates a path to citizenship for immigrants who complete at least two years of college or military service. The federal legislation has been repeatedly introduced for the past 10 years, and it has failed every time.

Once a proponent of the DREAM Act, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., withdrew his support of the legislation in May. Lugar said his decision was motivated by a speech by President Barack Obama, in which the president framed immigration as a “divisive election issue instead of attempting a legitimate debate on comprehensive reform.”

Adams and others who hope for a brighter future for young undocumented immigrants wonder if the DREAM Act may be gaining the momentum it needs to pass. While she knows Lugar has withdrawn his support of the DREAM Act, she is optimistic that he may take up the cause again.

“It almost passed last time, so we hope champions like Sen. Lugar hopefully will continue to push the DREAM Act, and maybe it will happen in the future,” she said.

But even if the DREAM Act does pass, undocumented immigrants who live in states where they can’t qualify for in-state tuition may still be unable to go to college.•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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