The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from a group of immigrant students who are seeking to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities.
Last fall, the state court of appeals reversed a lower court’s decision that would have allowed students with DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhoods Arrivals, to pay in-state rates. The program allows young people who were brought to the country illegally as children to have temporary protection from deportation and permission to work in the country legally.
“We’re quite disappointed, but we’re not surprised,” said Charles Kuck, an immigration attorney representing the students. “But our fight will continue. It might not continue in the courts but will continue in the legislature, and it will continue at the Board of Regents itself, which has the ultimate authority to fix this injustice.”
The students had argued that while they don’t have “legal status” under DACA, they have “lawful presence.” The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents’ policy says that in order for students to qualify for in-state tuition, “their lawful presence” must be verified.
In December 2016, a Fulton County judge agreed with the students and ruled that the Georgia Board of Regents must grant in-state tuition status to students under the DACA program. However, the ruling was placed on hold as the university system appealed the case.