While many states debate the availability of public benefits for undocumented immigrants who qualify for Obama's executive order, some states have already been denying certain state benefits, including in-state tuition and scholarships, to American citizens who are the children of undocumented immigrants, reports the New York Times.
“Legally, the issue is straightforward,” said Michael A. Olivas, a professor of immigration and education law at the University of Houston. “These children are citizens. These are not kids whose status is at issue at all."
Now, new rulings (thanks to students speaking out) are striking down the provisions that have hindered many in the college process. In the latest ruling, Florida threw out state regulations defining American children of parents without legal immigration status as out-of-state residents, ineligible for tuition breaks given to state residents at public colleges and universities. Tuition for out-of-state students is much higher, sometimes three times as high as those with in-state tuition.
Lawyers claim that many American students had been scared to bring the matter to court, in the possibility of exposing their parents as undocumented immigrants and risking their deportation.
Similar decisions were made in both New Jersey, where a student was denied financial aid this past year based on her mother's status, and California, who had denied student housing to American students with undocumented parents. These decisions were struck down this year and in 2007, respectively.
What do you think of these issues? Should more attention be paid to state and public benefits for American citizens to make sure they're getting a fair deal? Share in the comments!