California Taxpayers Fight Back against In-State University Tuition Subsidies to Aliens

Published on November 17th, 2016

California’s taxpayers have long been frustrated by the multi-millions of dollars in entitlements that the state government provides year after year to illegal immigrants. A few weeks ago one of those disgruntled taxpayers, Earl De Vries, brought a lawsuit against the University of California’s Board of Regents in which he claimed that giving in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants at all University of California schools violates federal law.

On November 7, a California appeals court heard the case that reporters Cully Stimson and Hans von Spakovsky summarized in this Daily Signal story. De Vries’ position is that the 1996 federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, Section 1621, makes illegal immigrants eligible for state or local public benefits, but “only through the enactment of a state law … which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.”

In recent years, the California Legislature passed three laws extending college-related public benefits to aliens, all of which CAPS actively opposed: AB 540 which granted in-state tuition benefits, AB 131 which provided state-administered financial aid benefits, and SB 1210 that extended student loan benefits. But the California Constitution states that UC regents are “subject only to such legislative control as may be necessary to insure the security of its funds and compliance with the terms of the endowments of the university …”

Lawyers representing De Vries argued that the regents’ decision to provide illegal immigrants with subsidies was not the act of the state Legislature, and therefore does not meet the federal statute’s requirement. The Daily Signal story notes that based on comments from those who attended the hearing, the justices that heard the case seemed sympathetic to the taxpayers, and Stimson and von Spakovsky also wrote: “No one knows how California voters would react to the Legislature extending benefits to University of California students because the Legislature has not taken that action and the people have not had a chance to vote them out of office for it.”

I’ll add that UC is a land grant college built for the education and betterment of California-born students’ lives, and is funded by generations of hardworking Californians, including several generations of my own family.

In California, subsidies for illegal aliens never end. The California legislature recently passed SB 1139, a financially irresponsible, unfair bill that would make illegal alien students eligible for scholarship and loan forgiveness programs if they are studying in a medical field. The legislation may be pointless since federal law prohibits hiring illegal immigrants. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to get contact information for Gov. Jerry Brown’s office where you can register your objection. Remember to mention that California can ill-afford to grant further subsidies to aliens. Financial analysts peg California’s unfunded liabilities from public pensions, retiree health care costs and outstanding bonds at nearly $400 billion.

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