Imagine that your eager, college-bound, academically qualified Georgia child or grandchild opens the mail and learns that he or she has been denied acceptance to the University of Georgia. Imagine admission had been denied because of a finite number of classroom seats– but that illegal aliens had been accepted instead of your heart-broken, wanna-be “Dawg.”
Visualize the head-scratching shock of a proud, legal-immigrant family living in Chattanooga or Charlotte upon being informed that, to send their son to any USG institution, they will need to pay about three times the amount of tuition that an illegal alien from Mexico pays at the same Georgia school.
In today’s Georgia, it is increasingly possible that these shameful imaginary scenarios could again become reality. All the Board of Regents has to do is…nothing.
Good current Regents policy
Implemented in 2010, current policy from the Board of Regents (4.1.6 – “Admission of Persons Not Lawfully Present in the United States”) was designed to insure that the above “no illegal alien left behind” system does not make a come-back to Georgia’s tax-funded university system.
Note the term “lawfully present” in the above regulation. It will come up later.
Currently– if the USG policy is actually enforced– the result is that illegal aliens are not admitted to UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University and Georgia Regents University and are paying out-of state tuition in the remainder of USG schools. In response the resentful illegal alien lobby has been screaming that the policy is blatant “hate”, “segregation” — and my personal favorite: “a violation of Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution” and should be overturned by a judge.
With the intention of doing exactly that, Georgia immigration lawyer Charles Kuck has filed a lawsuit demanding that the illegal aliens in Georgia who are the beneficiaries of Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election-year inspired “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) be further rewarded with admission to all USG taxpayer-funded institutions and charged the lower instate tuition rate.
Kuck is also vice-chairman of the Board at the leftist Georgia Association of the Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) Corporation, which is the most well-funded, anti-enforcement, community organizing group in the Peach State. Originally formed by former state Senator Sam Zamarippa, the Executive Director of GALEO is Geraldo E. Gonzalez – or as he is known around the state Capitol, “Angry Jerry.”
Most Georgians are unfamiliar with Obama’s DACA defacto amnesty scam and it was greeted with virtual silence by most Republicans both nationally and here in Georgia. The basics are that in addition to being promised that deportation proceedings would be “delayed” for two years, the DACA recipients were awarded work permits and genuine Social Security numbers. DACA status is renewable. Indefinitely. But, according to no less than the official White House blog and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, “Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.” Kuck readily admits that the DACA illegal aliens now taking college seats from Americans are still illegal aliens.
“We’re not talking about legal status– that’s an entirely different thing— nor are we arguing that these children have legal status, they do not. But they do have lawful presence and if the language ‘lawfully present’ is present in the Board of Regents’ tuition policy and the federal government says that these children are lawfully present if granted DACA, there is no lawful reason why these children are not given in-state tuition in Georgia,” Kuck told GPTV last year.
Rather like litigating what the meaning of the word “is” is, Kuck’s suit hinges entirely on the perceived meaning of the terms “legal status” and “legal presence.”
The intent of the Regents 2010 action, not to mention American immigration laws, was and is crystal clear.
To easily end this ridiculous and volatile situation and to limit the state’s cost of defending the admissions policy from the illegal alien lobby’s lawsuit, the Regents can and should simply alter the existing 4.1.6 regulation to include the term “status.” That would mean Kuck’s “it depends on the meaning of lawfully present” lawsuit would go away immediately.
The existence of borders and immigration laws creates winners and losers. Future actions– or the absence thereof— on this issue will provide a great deal of insight into the Regents’ determination to decide into which category they put American students and families looking for a better life in their own country.
The author is president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society and a nationally recognized authority on immigration. He has assisted Georgia lawmakers in the crafting of related legislation. Twitter @DAKDIS
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