Tuesday, October 3, 2017
No Review of Lower Court Ruling
State lawmakers voted in 2001 to grant in-state tuition to all students, regardless of immigration status, at California’s public colleges and universities. But the legislation directly affected only California State University and community colleges, because the state Constitution grants independent status to UC under the governance of the Board of Regents.
The regents then voted to make the lower fees available at UC campuses to students who had attended high school in California and had applied to legalize their immigration status. They took the same steps after legislators passed laws in 2011 and 2014 making unauthorized immigrants eligible for state financial aid and loans. According to a legislative staff report, fewer than 1 percent of the students at California’s public colleges are unauthorized immigrants eligible for lower costs.
A taxpayer represented by the conservative nonprofit Judicial Watch challenged the regents’ actions. The suit relied on a 1996 federal law that made undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local benefits unless those benefits were expressly allowed by a future state law. Because the regents are not state legislators, Judicial Watch argued, they have no power to enact state laws. But a state appeals court ruled in December that the Legislature had authorized the lower fees, in the laws passed in 2001, 2011 and 2014, allowing the regents to take the final step.
The 1996 federal law “required only that state laws make undocumented immigrants eligible for public benefits” in order to receive them, and the Legislature “removed the federal barrier” and cleared the way for the regents’ action, Justice John Segal said in a 3-0 ruling of the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. The state Supreme Court unanimously denied review of the case in February, and the nation’s high court rejected a final appeal by Judicial Watch on Monday...
Full story at http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Supreme-Court-UC-Regents-undocumented-immigrant-12247422.php