On Tuesday an Arizona judge ruled that undocumented immigrants who have seen their deportation postponed by the executive action taken by President Obama are living in the state legally and should therefore pay in-state tuition fees at Arizona colleges.
The ruling may have important implications for approximately 20,000 undocumented immigrants in Arizona who would be eligible for President Obama’s deferred action programs, according to the Huffington Post. “It’s very exciting,” says DACA recipient and Phoenix immigration rights activist Erika Andiola. “For us, it’s showing that we’re on the right side of the law.” Andiola says that activists now have to wait to see whether the ruling will be applied to Arizona’s universities by the Arizona Board of Regents.
The president of the Arizona Board of Regents, Eileen Klein, later released a statement saying that the board was reviewing the decision of the court and that it intends to comply with the law. The ruling does not directly apply to Arizona’s universities, however, as it is the result of a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Community College District filed by Tom Horne, the former attorney general.
“Federal law, not state law, determines who is lawfully present in the US,” the ruling insists. “The circumstance under which a person enters the US does not determine that person’s lawful presence here.” Mark Brnovich, the new Arizona attorney general, is contemplating a possible appeal against the judge’s decision.