Arizona Sues to Block College District's Tuition Break for Immigrant Students

On Tuesday, Arizona filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Maricopa County Community College District from offering in-state tuition rates to young immigrants granted deferred deportation by the Obama administration, The Associated Press reported.

The Maricopa district, one of the nation's largest community college systems, moved to offer the lower rate last year, after concluding that work permits obtained under the terms of President Obama's "deferred action" program would count toward the state's list of documents needed to prove legal residency. That decision defied Governor Jan Brewer, who has said that such students who obtain work permits are not residents according to state law.

The lawsuit argues that extending reduced tuition to those youths violates state law, which prohibits any immigrant without legal status from receiving public benefits. According to AP, State Attorney General Tom Horne office had been threatening to sue the school system over its tuition policy for months.

In April, Maricopa officials directed Horne to seek clarity from a judge on the state law to avoid conflicting interpretations, arguing that the students are legal immigrants and should receive reduced tuition.

Pima Community College in Tucson also currently offers discounted tuition to some illegal immigrant students, but it is not named in the lawsuit.

A spokesperson from Horne's office could not immediately explain why Maricopa's policy merited legal action, while Pima's did not, reports AP.


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The Associated Press