Arizona sues district over tuition for "DREAMers"

June 26, 2013

Arizona is suing the Maricopa County Community College District and trying to block the district from offering in-state tuition to the young immigrants known as “DREAMers.” Attorney General Tom Horne said offering reduced tuition to students who were illegally brought to this country as children violates state law. Horne’s argument is that they aren’t legal residents, but district spokesman Tom Gariepy said those students are now eligible for work visas under the Obama administration, and that makes them lawful residents in the district’s eyes. Gariepy added that this lawsuit will likely come with a large price tag.

“The cost to the taxpayer is effectively doubled because both of us are public entities,” Gariepy said. “And all of that is especially true because a federal immigration bill is working its way through Congress and if it’s passed, it would likely make the whole issue moot.”

Arizona law does not define what makes a “legal resident” but does list a work visa as sufficient proof of legal status. Pima Community College District has also decided to give in-state tuition to these students, but so far, Arizona has taken no legal action against the school.

KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District.