SEPTEMBER 05, 2007
A federal appeals court has ruled against a group of American college students challenging a Kansas law that grants cheaper in-state tuition to illegal immigrants because they attended high school in the state.
Kansas began offering lower in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in 2004 and a year later a group of college bound U.S. citizen filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the measure violates the 14th Amendmentâ??s equal protection clause because it offers illegal immigrants a benefit they could not get.
The suit asked the federal courts to require that the state either eliminate the tuition benefit for illegal aliens or offer the same rate to all U.S. citizens, even those from other states. But a federal judge in Topeka ruled in 2005 that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the legal challenge because they failed to demonstrate that the law had harmed them.
The students naturally appealed and this week a three-judge panel of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals basically upheld the lower courtâ??s decision. In its 26-page ruling the judges wrote that the students had failed to provide evidence that they had been directly harmed by the Kansas law or that they would benefit if it was reversed.
Federal law requires public elementary and secondary schools to enroll illegal immigrants but it prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining tuition breaks that are not available to all United States citizens. Regardless, a handful of statesâ??including Texas, California, Utah, Maryland and New Yorkâ??have passed legislation to grant illegal aliens the perk.
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