Court Hears Arguments For DACA In-State Tuition Case

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 5:51pm
Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 12:44pm
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(Photo by Emily Johnson - KJZZ)
Maricopa Community Colleges

The Maricopa County Superior Court heard arguments Tuesday in the college tuition case for immigrants protected from deportation by the Obama administration. The legal question at hand is whether those immigrants qualify for in-state tuition. 

Three years ago, the Maricopa County Community College District offered in-state tuition for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients. The state sued, arguing those young immigrants are not lawfully present in the U.S.

Attorney for the students Martha Gomez said the state’s argument isn’t based on law.

“[It's] a reaction to a program the state didn’t like and their statements about DACA individuals not based on federal law," she said. "Based on feelings against federal government and students. Those feelings of dislike are never a reason to discriminate.”

Gomez said DACA is part of deferred action, which is when the government decides to delay prosecution. Attorney for the state Leslie Cooper said DACA status was created by President Barack Obama's executive order, which is limited to enforcing a law.  

“It has chosen with the DACA proclamation not to prosecute a class of individuals that were defined by the Maricopa County Community College District," she said. "But it can’t change their status.”

Those arguments didn’t work in the driver’s license case. DACA recipients prevailed in federal court and were allowed to get drivers licenses in January. Arizona is appealing that case. 

KJZZ is licensed to Rio Salado College which is part of the Maricopa County Community College District. 

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