The California State Supreme Court has ruled that students who have received three or more years of high school education in California are eligible for the in-state tuition rate if they enter one of the State colleges or universities. These students must graduate from a California high school.
In a 7 to 0 unanimous opinion written by Justice Ming W. Chin, the State's highest Court decided that such students entering State colleges or universities are not required to pay out of state tuition rates.
This decision will affect about 25,000 undocumented students enrolled in the State's colleges and universities. And although eligible for the in-state tuition, such students are not eligible for government financial aid programs.
This is good news for all Californians! Virtually all undocumented students were brought to this country by family members; they did not decide on their own to come to our country.
Having these young people well educated helps fill our State's need for a more highly trained workforce, especially as thousands of baby-boomers begin to retire.
Now Congress and the President need to take the next step as early as possible: pass the DREAM Act so that these students who graduate from our colleges and universities can be placed on a path towards legal residency and eventual citizenship. I am hopeful that during this lame-duck session of Congress the leadership might put this legislation forward for a full vote in the House and Senate.
To maintain a punitive posture towards our undocumented young people who graduate from colleges and universities is not only against the American spirit, that attitude deprives our country of the benefit from an upcoming well educated work force.
Let's continue our collective efforts to pass the elements of immigration reform--either one by one, or as a comprehensive piece of legislation.
"For I was a stranger, and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35)