The Arizona Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Tuesday that deferred undocumented immigrant students are not entitled to in-state tuition. The ruling overturns a trial court judge’s 2015 decision [opinion, PDF] that students under protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS materials] program were considered legally present in the US and therefore qualified for state benefits. According to Judge Kenton Jones [official profile], the DACA program does not grant legal status, but allows each state to decide on optional benefits for DACA recipients. Jones said Arizona law prohibits in-state tuition from being granted to these types of individuals. Attorney General Mark Brnovich [official profile] opined [text] Arizona voters were clear when they approved Proposition 300 [text] in 2006, which dictates that those who are not in this country lawfully should not be given public benefits. Intervening party, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund [official website], said [AZ CENTRAL report] it may be appealing the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court [official website].
Which educational rights DACA program recipients are entitled to continues to be contested throughout the country. In January a Superior Court judge refused [JURIST report] to place a hold on her previous ruling granting in-state tuition to DACA recipients. That same month, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents [official website] appealed a ruling [JURIST report] which gives in-state tuition to DACA recipients. In June the California State Assembly [official website] passed two bills [JURIST report], which, if passed by the senate, will strengthen protections for undocumented immigrant students in public schools from kindergarten through college. In earlier years, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Florida [JURIST reports] passed bills granting undocumented immigrants in-state tuition.