Several Arizona colleges are facing lawsuits filed by the state for granting in-state tuition discounts to illegal immigrants. In a suit filed earlier this week, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne alleged that the Maricopa County Community College District has been providing in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrant students since September. Under state law, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving public benefits such as tuition breaks.
College officials say their students are all legal residents of the state because of a federal policy that makes it possible for some illegal immigrants to obtain work permits and avoid deportation if they attended school, The Daily Caller reported.
"We feel that it's too bad that he felt the need to do this and spend public funds, actually, it's double public funds since we are a public entity and so are they," said Tom Gariepy, the school district's spokesman. "We still think that our policy will be upheld and that the judge will see things our way."
He added: "From our point of view, we didn't change our policy because what we were doing all along was accepting federal work permits. Our point has been that we don't feel we should have to discriminate among the people who present us those permits."
Works visas or not, Horne said the intention of the law is clear. Arizona voters approved an initiative in 2006 that specifically prevents “persons who are not eligible for state and local benefits from receiving certain state or local benefits including in-state tuition rates.”