There are many challenges and disadvantages faced by children of illegal immigrants; however, a recent federal decision could expand their rights to public education. According to a recently by a U.S. federal judge, it is illegal to charge students higher tuition because their parents are undocumented. Under the ruling, the judge determined that the policy violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution, by forcing students of immigrants to pay three times as much as Florida residents.
The lawsuit was brought by several Florida students who were denied in-state tuition because they could not prove that their parents were in the country legally. This ruling could give thousands of students greater access to education and other benefits in the public education system in Florida and nationwide.
Children of immigrants born in this country are citizens whether their parents have legal immigration status. According to the ruling, state regulations denying in-state tuition to immigrant children creates an obstacle to attain public post-secondary education for U.S. citizens who would otherwise qualify for in-state tuition.
State education officials are reviewing the decision but they have not decided on whether or not to appeal. According to advocates for the plaintiffs, the young students have been discriminated against. Children of immigrants have one similar legal disputes in other states. Immediately the ruling could impact education access at 28 public two-year colleges and 11 four-year universities in Florida. If you are a child of an immigrant and have faced discrimination or you are an immigrant seeking to protect your rights involving status or naturalization, an experienced immigration attorney can review your case explore your legal options.
Source: Associated Press, “Illegal immigrants’ children eligible for in-state Florida tuition,” Sept. 5, 2012