November 3, 2011

Judicial Watch to RIBGHE: In-State Tuition for Illegals Appears To Be "clear violation of federal law and must, therefore, be reversed"

Monique Chartier

Tuesday, the RIBGHE voted to increase tuition at the three state colleges. It is very difficult not to link this increase to their vote five weeks ago to offer in-state tuition to illegal alien students. Now, with their vote Tuesday night, when the colleges go to the General Assembly for more tax dollars to cover the shortfall of these additional "in-state students", RIBGHE can claim to have done their part on the funding front.

... except that there remains a decided question of legality about the policy, which Judicial Watch points out to the RIBGHE in a letter sent October 19.

Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it sent a letter on October 19, 2011, to the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE), calling on the State of Rhode Island to abandon a new illegal alien tuition policy impacting Rhode Island's public institutions of higher education.

On September 26, 2011, the RIBGHE established a set of criteria by which students, including illegal aliens, would be eligible for reduced in-state tuition rates. However, as Judicial Watch notes in its letter to RIBGHE Chairman Lorne Adrain, "Under federal law, unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for state or local public benefits, including post-secondary education benefits such as reduced tuition, unless a state has enacted a law affirmatively providing for such eligibility."

Judicial Watch then calls on Rhode Island officials to reverse the policy:

We understand that the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education ("RIBGHE") recently approved changes to its current student residency policy that are intended to make unlawfully present aliens eligible to pay reduced, in-state tuition rates at Rhode Island's public universities, colleges, and community colleges. These changes appear to be in clear violation of federal law and must, therefore, be reversed…

…There is no way to reconcile RIBGHE's new policy with federal law. The new policy provides a public benefit to individuals who clearly are ineligible for such a benefit under section 1621(a) of title 8, and Rhode Island has not enacted a law affirmatively providing for such eligibility under section 1621(d) of title 8. In fact, we understand that the Rhode Island General Assembly rejected proposed legislation earlier this year that would have made unlawfully present aliens eligible for in-state tuition at Rhode Island's public universities, colleges, and community colleges and that it has rejected similar proposed legislation in prior years.

RIBGHE may not ignore federal laws when those laws are not consistent with its own policy preferences. We hope that RIBGHE will reverse its new student residency policy immediately in order to conform its policy to the requirements of federal law.

The RIBGHE intends for this policy change to take effect at the start of the Fall 2012 semester. This new policy will apply to all public universities, colleges and community colleges in Rhode Island.

"In-state tuition and other taxpayer-subsidized perks for illegal aliens are not only unlawful, they also make matters worse by inducing greater numbers of illegal aliens to cross the border in search of sanctuary," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "If the rule of law means anything, not one single taxpayer dollar should be used to pay for the higher education of illegal aliens. Quite simply, for public officials in Rhode Island (or anywhere else) to flout illegal immigration laws is a fundamental abuse of power."

Judicial Watch's letter to Rhode Island is part of a comprehensive campaign by Judicial Watch to put an end to illegal alien sanctuary policies, including in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens. In addition to pursuing a Maryland taxpayer court challenge to such benefits, Judicial Watch represents in a lawsuit filed by illegal immigration activists that would deny Maryland voters the opportunity to vote on the Maryland Dream Act, which provides taxpayer subsidies to pay for tuition for certain illegal aliens. Previously, Judicial Watch successfully forced the County College of Morris in New Jersey to reverse its discounted tuition policy for illegal alien students. Judicial Watch also recently launched a national petition television campaign to persuade the nation's governors to obey and enforce all immigration laws.

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- The United States Catholic bishops have called on Congress to vote in favor of the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act would provide young people, who were brought by their parents to the United States at an early age and have undocumented status, a way to regularize their status and obtain permanent residency. It also would allow states to give them eligibility for in-state tuition.

In a statement, Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando urged elected officials to “resist the voices of dissension and fear this time and vote for the DREAM Act.”

”As a provider of education to thousands of children and young adults nationwide, the Catholic Church has witnessed the suffering of young persons who, through no fault of their own, reside in an undocumented status and are denied access to legal status in this country and an opportunity to continue their education,” said Bishop Wenski, a consultant to the bishops’ Committee on Migration.

The DREAM Act, he said, would give these young people an opportunity to meet their potential and to fully contribute to our society.

“This is not only good for them but good for our country,” he added. “By investing in these young people, our nation will receive the benefits for years to come. It is also the right and moral thing to do.”

“These children are in an undocumented status not because their own choice or decision [but because] … they were dependent on their parents,” said the bishop in his appeal. “The United States is the only country and home many of them know.”

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at November 4, 2011 12:30 AM

Everybody give a round of applause for Sammy the Democratic Troll.

Posted by: Dan at November 4, 2011 7:47 AM

Hey Sammy,

Did you have to take a shower after that comment. I thought you libs detested the church's involvement in anything government. Maybe now if you scrub the Bishop's back he flip on same sex marriage. Hypocrite!

Posted by: Max D at November 4, 2011 10:26 AM

left wing a&&holes like sammy always try to find a "conservative"source to validate their points.What does thta say about them?
You're right on about their hypocrisy-it's all they have.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 4, 2011 11:06 AM

"It is very difficult not to link this increase to their vote five weeks ago to offer in-state tuition to illegal alien students."

By the same logic, it's also difficult not to link it to trick-or-treating. Equal valid and much more fun to debate!

Posted by: Russ at November 4, 2011 4:44 PM

Using Judicial Watch as a source is like putting gasoline on a fire.. c'mon

Posted by: David S at November 4, 2011 6:45 PM

So Russ, tell us you don't think the average educated Rhode Islander didn't automatically make that leap? More than likely, even those that support in-state tuition for illegals probably had an "Oh crap" moment when they heard it. If the first thing you thought of is trick or treat then you need an intervention. Maybe Doctor Phil is available.

Posted by: Max D at November 4, 2011 8:33 PM

"Using Judicial Watch as a source is like putting gasoline on a fire.. c'mon"

Do you really think the in-state tuition for illegals issue needs an accelerant? Read much?

Posted by: Max D at November 4, 2011 8:41 PM

Max-yeah,72(or 79?)% of RI'ers oppose in state tuition for illegals,and tye lefties here think it's because of Judicial Watch or maybe Fox?WTF?
People think for themselves and don't like being jobbed by politiical whores such as Chafee,Whitehouse,Mancuso,and the rest of the panderers including some "Republicans".

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 5, 2011 10:51 AM

Can't blame Judicial Watch. Needs to justify its existence somehow after its attempts to prosecute Bill Clinton over a little tawdry sex in the White House failed.

Posted by: bella at November 6, 2011 7:18 AM

bella-the poll was conducted by the Projo,not Judicial Watch,whoever they are(I've heard the name but really don't know who they are).

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 6, 2011 3:13 PM
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