Opinion: Georgia ‘replaced Jim Crow with Juan Crow.’ State Supreme Court hears case Friday.

Georgia has limited the ability of children of undocumented immigrants to attend public colleges and universities. On Friday morning, proponents of greater access will make their case to the state Supreme Court.

The court will hear oral arguments in Olvera et al. v. University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents et al. (The court is hearing the case Friday in the Gilmer County Courthouse in Ellijay.)

In the official summary, the high court outlines the caseCollege students who are not U.S. citizens are appealing a Georgia Court of Appeals decision that upheld the dismissal of their lawsuit by a Fulton County judge. The students are seeking a decision that they are entitled to in-state tuition at Georgia’s colleges and universities. (The summary gives an excellent overview of both sides.)

One of the proponents of greater access is Angela D. Meltzer of U-Lead, an Athens-based volunteer group that helps children of immigrants navigate the college search, including the SAT, tutoring, applications, essays and scholarships. Many of the students meet the criteria for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, a federal policy that enables immigrants who were brought here illegally as children, attended school here and haven’t been convicted of felonies to earn a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation.

“These are highly motivated students who want to go on to post-secondary education. However, they are often thwarted by Georgia’s refusal to grant them in-state tuition, but they nevertheless pursue that dream,” says Meltzer, who makes her case in a guest column today.

The AJC reported two weeks ago on a new report that contends Georgia loses income by denying wider higher ed access to DACA students.

The AJC reported:

Barring some immigrant students from in-state tuition rates costs Georgia about $10 million in lost tax revenue each year, by decreasing access to higher education and better-paying jobs, according to a report out today from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Georgia’s public University System bars those immigrants from attending institutions that haven’t enrolled all of their academically eligible students for the past two years. Those schools include some of the state’s most selective: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Georgia College and State universities. At the state’s remaining public colleges, those immigrant students are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates, which can be thousands of dollars more than in-state rates.

The policies have led to a lawsuit against the state’s university system by a group of immigrants accepted into the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The federal government says people granted this relief are legally present in the U.S. Georgia’s in-state tuition policy requires “lawful presence.” State attorneys have said the federal program doesn’t affect Georgia’s tuition policies.

With that background, here is Meltzer’s op-ed.

By Angela D. Meltzer

Georgia is one of only a small handful of states that refuses to allow its DACA students any access to the benefit of paying in-state tuition rates at its public colleges.

The parents of these children brought them here at a very young age without legal sanction. They have attended and graduated from Georgia public schools, where many have excelled academically, they speak English fluently and they have never been convicted of a felony.

There have been many public protests at the the state Capitol against Regents policies that force them to pay out-of-state tuition and deny them entry to the research campuses.

There have been many public protests at the Capitol against Regents policies that force children of illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition and deny them entry to Georgia’s top universities. (AJC File)

The federal government considers such students “legally present,” which prevents their deportation, allows them to work, and provides a Social Security number, although they cannot apply for U.S. citizenship.  At the state level, legal presence is often sufficient to qualify for in-state tuition rates, but not in Georgia.

In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced DACA students are considered “lawfully present,” affirming the individual has temporary permission to be in the United States.

The Georgia Board of Regents position continues to deny in-state tuition to DACA students, resting on thinly veiled semantics arguments between the terms, “legal presence “ and “lawful presence.”

The 2008 Senate Bill 492 prohibits in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants. The Board of Regents Policy 4.3.4 — on which it relies to deny in-state tuition to DACA students — requires “lawful presence” to qualify for in-state tuition.

Georgia is out of step with most other Southern states such as Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and others, which grant in-state tuition rates to DACA students at least on some levels.

Is this Georgia Board of Regents policy just a smoke screen for a modern form of “segregation” based on immigration status – Juan Crow replacing Jim Crow?

Georgia is going back to a time when it denied education to a certain group of people. Do we allow the Board of Regents to bring the entire state back to that ugly era in its history?

DACA students attending public colleges are required to pay out-of-state tuition, which is often four times the cost of in-state tuition. In actual dollars, for example, the cost of in-state tuition for two semesters at the University of North Georgia is approximately $2,500 whereas out-of-state tuition is approximately $8,900.

For this highly motivated DACA student, this barrier to seeking postsecondary education often means dropping out during alternate semesters to work full time to save for the next semester’s tuition.

This mean-spirited policy flies in the face of Georgia’s goal to strengthen its competitiveness by significantly increasing the number of Georgians with postsecondary school credentials. Georgia needs a productive, highly motivated, educated workforce. Already we have lost many of these students to DACA-friendly states and other private universities that have offered them full scholarships.  And thus they take their talents elsewhere.

Denial of in-state tuition is just one of the Board of Regents onerous affronts to the DACA students. Another Board of Regents policy, enacted in 2010, places an outright ban on DACA students from attending Georgia’s five selective public universities: The University of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College and State University.

On Friday, there will be a third court hearing in the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding the In-State-Tuition Law Suit against this Board of Regents Policy.  It is unfair and unconscionable to burden and thwart our highly motivated immigrant students any further.   Hopefully the Georgia Supreme Court and the court of public opinion will agree.  Our legislators, our governor and the Board of Regents also need to re-think this damaging policy and take corrective action as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

61 comments
Tcope
Tcope

I wish we would do away with all "instate" tuition restrictions nationwide. It is flawed logic to assume just because a kid went to a high school in Georgia and graduates from Ga. Tech he will stay in Georgia for his career. It creates a flawed market for higher education. Illegal aliens should not be receiving any charitable benefits from the government of our city, state or country.

Caius
Caius

Interesting case.The big question for me is how do the "illegals" get out of paying taxes?  Every time I buy a car, gas, shoes or a shirt, etc, etc I have to pay taxes.  How do the "illegals" get out of  paying those taxes?

I understand they do not pay income taxes unless they came here legally and are now illegal or are operating with a false SS card.

I do not pay income taxes either; I am retired and set up my retirement to be income tax free.  But I have found no way to get around paying the other taxes.  Any help will be appreciated.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Caius 

They pay sales tax, of course. A great many ask their employers to have the federal and the FICA (Social Security) taxes withheld because they believe that this will document their intention to become citizens when the government examines their cases.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Caius

Illegals do pay some taxes (such as Sales), but when you consider the cost of education, penal system, health care system (been to an Emergency Room lately?), etc, etc, etc, the net burden is about a factor of ten.

http://www.fairus.org/publications/the-fiscal-burden-of-illegal-immigration-on-united-states-taxpayers

California is bankrupt, the border states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have been shutting down hospitals due to the illegals who get dumped on the doorstep and who never pay, and schools have to hire ESOL teachers because the children of illegals don't speak English.  

You can't have a first world country by allowing the third world to invade.  

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Caius All they have to have is a Tax ID number,which is free. from the IRS.  Unless employed under the table,as many white/black Americans are, they do have income taxes taken out.


So little time, so much lack of information.


Without a tax ID or SS number, they are unemployable by most firms.  Our largest business in town welcomes them.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Caius You probably also get a deal on property taxes.  Few "illegals" do--they have to pay the whole nut, in monthly rental installments.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Wascatlady @Caius 

 The taxpayer is exempt from paying property taxes if he/she is over 65 and has an income under a certain amount, $12K, I think. That's the "deal." 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lee_CPA2 @Caius 

California is bankrupt because of its crazy politicians who ran up a state budget deficit without conscience. Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, were only a small part of it. It is not just the immigrants  who have hurt the hospitals in those border states (and a lot of other states including Georgia), but the uninsured poor in general. TESOL teachers are hired for more than illegal immigrants, but for legal refugees and immigrants as well; and we have many of those nationwide.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @Lee_CPA2 @Caius 

Insufficient causation. Illegal immigrants are not the sole factor in these expenses of government, as Lee_CPA is arguing. Especially when you consider that by its nature the exact numbers of such immigrants cannot be determined.

meno
meno

@OriginalProf @Astropig @Lee_CPA2 @Caius


Funny, how cons can be so sure that "illegals" are causing hospitals to shut but cannot, for one moment,  accept the plausibility that not accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid has anything to do with such things happening.

Astropig
Astropig

@Lee_CPA2 @Caius



Ding!Ding!Ding!- We have a winnah!


As usual, libs only want to look at one side of the equation (revenue) and forget the more important side (expenses). $11 billion dollars is N-O-T-H-I-N-G compared to the cost of government.That $11 Bil would run the government for about 23 hours.

Susan89
Susan89

If the child's parents or the child isn't an American citizen, then they should NOT be allowed to get their education, health care benefits or anything else here.  Send them back.  Not just Mexicans, but people that are NOT here legally.  I don't care if they are from Russia, Switzerland, or where ever...

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

DACA stands for "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals".  The "action" that our president has used his prosecutorial discretion to "defer" is DEPORTATION per US law.

The Regents are 100% correct on this one.

Astropig
Astropig

@DrProudBlackMan


It's just fascinating that the hypocrites here don't want to punish these students "for the mistakes of their parents",but they're willing to keep up the hatred for some people's great-great-great-great grandparents back in the antebellum days.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

You would think the "journalists" down at the AJC would have access to a dictionary and could look up the word "ILLEGAL".  It never ends, does it?  Illegals want the benefits of citizenship but seem to have ignored that pesky little step of OBEYING OUR LAWS.  Screw 'em.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

The rationale behind denying these DACA students admission to Georgia's five most selective universities is that the state did not wish to give illegal immigrants spaces that might have been taken by legal residents instead. That was a very strongly held opinion by state legislators who passed the law, and I don't think it will be changed now. The rationale for denying them the option of paying in-state tuition at the other state schools was that their parents had not been paying state income taxes. Originally, there was the move to deny them admission to state schools altogether, but the compromise was reached of charging them the same as international students or out-of-state residents.


I really don't see that DACA changes things for them, since it is a temporary status. I think the case will be denied.


I also find it profoundly insulting --and opportunistic-- to compare their situation to that of black citizens under the earlier Jim Crow laws.

popcornular
popcornular

@OriginalProf 

How do you find it insulting? Are you insulted? Kind of like E.T. who could feel his friends emotions? Is that the explanation behind the bleeding heart?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@OriginalProf  A well-reasoned response.  Thank you.  It was not only the legislature but also a lot of parents who saw a problem with admitting illegal immigrants while legal citizens were denied entry - I would have been furious if my daughter did not get into UGA but an illegal did.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The idea behind state subsidy of college tuition is that they will remain productive citizens of a Georgia - something an illegal cannot do

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@popcornular


He finds it insulting because it is insulting to fair minded people. However to the white bigots such as yourself racism, along with a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance keeps you from feeling any empathy for races other than your own. I hope this answers your question mam.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog DACA kids may eventually be able to. And, if they are smart enough and persistent enough, with all the things in their way, to get into, succeed, and graduate from a state college or university, we should WANT them to stay and increase the taxpaying base of our state.

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @class80olddog


They're willing to go through 4 years of college but they are not willing to take the steps necessary to become legal citizens?They sound motivated,but not in a good way.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @OriginalProf I would be embarrassed if my child were "beaten out" for admission to UGA by a kid with as many obstacles to overcome as the DACA kids have.  I suspect THAT was the thinking behind it.


And the whole"their parents don't pay income taxes" is hooey.  I would wager that most do.  In my town most are employed in bona fide workplaces, and have taxes taken out regularly.  Some "illegals" even have served in our armed forces.  There ARE some who work under the table, but then in my area there are quite a few white people that do, too!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popcornular @OriginalProf 

The reader is expected to agree with this argument that is presented. It shows the logical fallacies of  false analogy, straw man argument, false stereotyping, and red herring argument, among others. I am a white reader who knows her history, and am profoundly insulted that this writer thinks I am lazy and stupid enough to equate the exclusion of illegal immigrants from lower tuition rates with 40-50 years of institutional discrimination against legal citizens.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Wascatlady @class80olddog @OriginalProf 

But they don't pay state income taxes, which are used to fund the state colleges and universities. Sales taxes, federal taxes don't do that. I was trying to present the arguments used by those who passed the laws.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OriginalProf 

The reasons for the passage of those laws go deeper than arguments based logic and taxes.  Many native Southerners know this phenomenon to be true with Georgia's legislators, who are representatives of the thinking of the majority of Georgians with biases based on long-ingrained emotions more than reason.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@OriginalProf @Wascatlady @class80olddog Unless they are employed under the table, as some white and black citizens are, they have taxes withheld by their SS number (even if it is not theirs--see e-verify and its faults) or by Tax ID number.  The largest employer in my county has hundreds of alien employees, who use these in order to work.  They would not be employed without one of the two.


Tax ID numbers are received from the IRS upon application.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings @OriginalProf 

Yes, of course--it was the state legislators who approved these laws, after all. And more than 20 states now consider illegal immigrants under DACA to be in-state residents who can pay in-state tuition...and those are mostly "blue" states.

Astropig
Astropig

These students are already getting a subsidy to attend in- state colleges.Now they want an even bigger subsidy. The taxpayers already support these schools with outright appropriations from taxpayers.If they didn't,the tuition would be astronomical and they would have a very different definition of "unaffordable". 


I generally think that (legal) immigration makes us a stronger,better nation,but I'm really opposed to a student that is not a legal citizen getting a better tuition rate than a kid from Kansas,Maine or wherever. That's just wrong.

Starik
Starik

@Astropig If an adult or an older teenager enters the country illegally, ok, treat them as "illegal."  If a kid is brought by his/her parents as a preteen the kid has become an American by the time they're ready for college. Their situation is not their fault, it's their parents fault.  By this logic, American kids born out of wedlock should be treated the same way - they're illegal as well, the product of a violation of Georgia's law against Fornication.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik @Astropig


So you would support charging more to a kid who's dad (or mom) served in Iraq or Afghanistan and lives on the wrong side of an imaginary state line than someone who's parents cannot even follow the law?


Again, total logic fail. Go on back down to your mothers basement.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik @Astropig



Total logic fail. I'm not even going to critique this because it is so bereft of any sense.

Starik
Starik

We wouldn't have to worry about this if the government would pass a decent immigration law that would make the illegal immigrants legal - upon reasonable conditions.  By the way, the black youth unemployment rate is because too many black kids match up poorly with jobs they're willing to do.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik


We also wouldn't have to worry about this if Mexico (and the rest of Central America) would change their policies and stop being corrupt semi-fascist dictatorships.The kleptocrats that run Mexico are kept in power because of the safety valve that an open border with the U.S. gives them. If these young men and women would work for change in Mexico instead of Georgia,they wouldn't have to come here and go to a decent university.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @Starik 1) why would young men and women work for a change in Mexico if they have no ties to it? (For instance, if they were from Guatemala),   Not all Latino people are "Mexicans" and many consider that an insult. 2) why would young women or men work for a change in ANY country except the one they have been brought up in, likely the only one they know?3) If they did go back to their parents' former home, what kind of power or influence do you think they would carry in getting things changed?

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @Astropig @Starik


I've never said that all Latinos are Mexican.In my bonding days, I learned that this country is full of Latinos from all of the western hemisphere. I built a pretty good business on being the only one of my trade that made an effort to understand and build trust with the latino community in my part of the state,thank you.


And the illegals coming can't put pressure on Mexico,but our government can.Washington should put pressure on Mexico City to stop being a failed narco-state and start acting like a first world country and a good neighbor.

whocares225
whocares225

Blacks are being replaced by illegals. Illegals take jobs from people (mostly blacks) who are trying to put themselves through school or trying to pay their kids tuition. This is why the black youth unemployment rate is so high.

The black middle class is shrinking fast thanks to liberal policies and democrats just don't care.

popcornular
popcornular

@whocares225

The problem is that the 'illegals' are willing to work. A certain demographic sees that as a very unflattering contrast. 

General Concern
General Concern

How many law-abiding native sons and daughters, who spent their formative childhood years in state, have had their families move away from the state due to job relocation during their high school years (say, sophomore or junior year) and are unable to attend schools in their native state because they will no longer qualify for in-state tuition? Probably not many, but since I basically almost fell into that sort of situation (although I was older at the time), I'm far more concerned about those students than anybody who invited themselves into the house and then decided they--and their kids--owned the joint.


The point is that the rules are fairly strict, and have hit many a person. I suggest the plantiffs deal with it, and stop acting as to the manor born, entitled to whatever they please, anytime they wish, rules be damned. If others wish them to have a cheaper college education, I suggest a subscription fund/passing of the hat on their part.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@PSWallace People in your situation could live independently in the state for a year, work and establish residency, and then get Georgia instate tuition upon admission.


As long as DACA is in place, the students covered by it should be admissible anywhere they have the credentials, at in-state rates, as long as they meet that year long residency rule.

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @PSWallace


"People in your situation could live independently in the state for a year, work and establish residency, and then get Georgia instate tuition upon admission."


Yes- By all means rearrange your life and your finances so that people can break the law with no consequences.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @Wascatlady @PSWallace Not at all. The blogger was bewailing the fact that his/her parents moved out of state.  There IS a remedy for that.  I gave it.  Personal responsibility.