Lawsuit over in-state tuition for some immigrants now in judge’s hands

Immigrants with temporary U.S. resident status seek in-state college tuition

alopez@macon.comMay 6, 2014 

A Fulton County judge is now deciding a lawsuit over whether Georgia public colleges should award in-state tuition to some young immigrants approved under a federal program that grants them temporary U.S. resident status.

At a hearing held Tuesday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger heard arguments from the plaintiffs and the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents but postponed making a decision.

“We don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” said Raymond Partolan, a Mercer University student who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Partolan attended the hearing and said the judge could come back with a decision at any time.

Thirty-nine young immigrants who qualify for the federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals sued the Board of Regents in August. The argument made by their attorney Charles Kuck has been that the university system’s own policy manual grants in-state tuition to residents with “lawful presence” in the country.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security classifies people who have been granted temporary legal status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as having “lawful presence,” Kuck said in December.

But attorneys for the state do not agree that the federal agency’s classification affects Georgia policy and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Last week, the Florida state Senate passed legislation that would allow students to pay in-state tuition regardless of immigration status as long as they have attended a Florida high school for three years and enroll in college within two years of graduating.

“The time is now” Partolan said of Georgia following Florida’s lead.

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 256-9751.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service