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Judicial Watch • 101911 FL Tuition Complaint

101911 FL Tuition Complaint

101911 FL Tuition Complaint

Page 1: 101911 FL Tuition Complaint

Category:General

Number of Pages:16

Date Created:October 19, 2011

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

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THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
 FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT FLORIDA
 MIAMI DIVISION
 
WENDY RUIZ; NOEL SAUCEDO;  
CAROLINE ROA; KASSANDRA  
ROMERO; and JANETH AMERICA  
PEREZ, behalf themselves and  
all others similarly situated,  Civil Case No. _________________  
Plaintiffs,  
GERARD ROBINSON, Florida  
Commissioner Education, sued his official capacity; FRANK  
BROGAN, Chancellor the State  
University System, sued his official  
capacity;  
Defendants.  

COMPLAINT -CLASS ACTION 
This action challenges the policies the Florida State Board Education and the Florida Board Governors that treat United States citizen students who reside Florida non-residents solely because their parents are undocumented immigrants. These policies invidiously discriminate against such United States citizen students violation the United States Constitution. 
Floridas public colleges and universities classify applicants and students who are unable show that their parents have lawful immigration status non-residents, even though the applicants are United States citizens who reside Florida. Being classified non-resident more than triples the cost tuition. result, many talented American students must either 

forego higher education incur extraordinary costs, both money and time, order obtain the same education made available other Florida residents small fraction the cost. 
The individuals who bring this action were born the United States, graduated from Florida high schools, and have lived Florida for many years.   Some have lived Florida all their lives. They went the same high schools, held down the same part-time jobs, and participated the same after-school activities their counterparts who are granted in-state tuition status. The only difference between the plaintiffs and the students granted in-state tuition that the plaintiffs cannot prove that their parents have lawful immigration status. Defendants actions violate fundamental constitutional rights. Plaintiff students seek declaratory, injunctive, and equitable relief behalf themselves and all others similarly situated.  

PARTIES
 PLAINTIFFS 
Plaintiff WENDY RUIZ United States citizen who was born Miami, Florida, 1992, and lives with her parents Miami-Dade County. Wendy has Florida birth certificate, Florida high school diploma, Florida voters registration card, Florida bank account, Florida learners license, and other proof her continuous residence Florida. Wendy honors student her second year Miami Dade College. Wendy, however, classified non-resident based the inability show proof her parents lawful immigration status. result being charged the higher non-resident tuition rate, Wendy cannot afford take full course load and will need three years complete her two-year degree Miami Dade College. January 2010, Wendy tried enroll Florida International University (FIU), located Miami, Florida. FIUs online application process required Wendy provide 

information about her parents lawful immigration status, requirement she could not meet. When Wendy was unable provide this information, FIUs application did not permit her proceed, and she was therefore unable enroll the university. 
Plaintiff NOEL SAUCEDO United States citizen who was born Miami, Florida, 1991, and lives with his parents Miami-Dade County. Noel has Florida birth certificate, Florida drivers license, Florida bank account, and Florida high school diploma. Noel second-year student Miami Dade College and has resided Florida since 2006. the spring 2010, Noel was awarded full scholarship for the two-year program Miami Dade College. Unable show his parents lawful immigration status, however, Noel was classified non-resident, thereby requiring him pay the higher tuition rate and reducing his scholarship negligible amount. result being charged the higher non-resident tuition rate, Noel cannot afford take full course load and will need three years complete his two-year degree Miami Dade College. around March 2010, Noel tried enroll Florida International University (FIU), located Miami, Florida. FIUs online application process required Noel provide information about his parents lawful immigration status, requirement was not able meet. When Noel was unable provide this information, FIUs application did not permit him proceed, and was therefore unable enroll the university. 
Plaintiff CAROLINE ROA United States citizen who was born Miami, Florida, 1993 and has lived Miami-Dade County her entire life. Caroline lives with her sister Miami-Dade County, where her only living parent, her father, also lives. Caroline has Florida birth certificate, Florida high school diploma, Florida voters registration card, 

Florida bank account, and other proof her continuous residence Florida. She aspires study psychology and work for the Federal Bureau Investigation. around August 2011, after Caroline was accepted Miami Dade College, school officials informed her that she did not qualify for in-state tuition, even though she had resided Miami-Dade County since birth. School officials explained Caroline that her residency for tuition purposes was based her fathers legal residence. Because Caroline could not show proof her fathers legal immigration presence the United States, she could not qualify for in-state tuition rates. Unable afford non-resident tuition rates, Caroline has not enrolled college. Instead, she works two jobs the hope one day being able afford college. 

10. 
Plaintiff KASSANDRA ROMERO United States citizen who was born Los Angeles, California, 1993, and lives with her family Palm Beach County, Florida. Kassandra has resided Florida with her family since 1998. She has California birth certificate, Florida high school diploma, Florida drivers license, and other proof her continuous residence Florida. Although Kassandra registered for classes Palm Beach State College, June 2011, school officials informed her that she would have show proof her parents legal immigration status order qualify for in-state tuition rates. Unable meet that requirement and unable afford non-resident tuition rates, Kassandra withdrew from college.  She currently works restaurant. 

11. 
Plaintiff JANETH AMERICA PEREZ United States citizen who was born Miami, Florida, 1992. She has Florida birth certificate, Florida high school diploma, Florida drivers license, and other proof her continuous residence Florida. Janeth lives with her mother Homestead, Florida. She has resided Florida her entire life. Janeth applied 

and was accepted Miami Dade College, where she intended study become earth science teacher. able complete her education and become teacher, Janeth plans teach her home state Florida. 

12. 
Upon enrolling Miami Dade College, Janeth was classified out-of-state student because she was unable show documentation her mothers immigration status. Because the higher costs out-of-state tuition, Janeth was forced drop her classes and currently works plant nursery. 

DEFENDANTS 
13. 
Defendant GERARD ROBINSON the Florida Commissioner Education.  The Commissioner the Executive Director the Department Education and the chief executive officer for the states K-20 system. Floridas K-20 system includes the states community colleges (also known the Florida College System), which Miami Dade College and Palm Beach State College are part. The Florida State Board Education, division the Department Education, body corporate and the chief implementing and coordinating body public education Florida, including the states community college system. The Florida State Board Education oversees the adoption and enforcement all laws and rules related education. statutorily charged with adopting rules determine the residency status community college students for tuition purposes.  Defendant Robinson sued his official capacity. 

14. 
Defendant FRANK BROGAN Chancellor the State University System. Chancellor, Defendant Brogan leads the Florida Board Governors and serves the chief executive and administrative officer the State University System. The Florida Board Governors consists public universities the State Florida, including Florida 

International University. The Florida Board Governors operates, regulates, controls, and fully responsible for the management Floridas entire system public universities. The Board Governors charged with adopting rules implement Floridas statutes the State University System, including rules determine the residency status students for tuition purposes. The Chancellor the State University System consults with the Commissioner Education establish statewide K-20 advisory groups and the Articulation Coordinating Committee, which makes recommendations related statewide policies admissions, articulation, and other matters affecting the State University System. Defendant Brogan sued his official capacity. 

JURISDICTION AND VENUE 
15. 
This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C.  1331 because this action arises under the United States Constitution and laws the United States, and pursuant U.S.C.  1343 because this action seeks redress the deprivation, under color state law, Plaintiffs civil rights and secure equitable other relief for the violation those rights. 

16. 
This Court has jurisdiction grant declaratory relief pursuant U.S.C.  2201 and 2202, and Federal Rule Civil Procedure 57. 

17. 
Venue proper under U.S.C.  1391(b), substantial part the events omissions giving rise the claims occurred the Southern District Florida. Each one the class representatives lives the Southern District Florida, applied colleges universities operating the Southern District Florida, and was deemed not Florida resident for tuition purposes the Southern District Florida. 

CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS
 
18. Plaintiffs bring this action behalf themselves and all those similarly situated pursuant Rule 23(a) and (b)(2) the Federal Rules Civil Procedure. 
19. The class defined as: 
All past, present, and future United States citizens who are, were, will able establish Florida residency for purposes determining in-state tuition rates Florida public institutions higher learning but for their parents immigration status the time the application matriculation such institutions. 
20. 
The class meets all the requirements Rule 23(a). Although the precise size the class cannot determined this time, statistical evidence shows that the class numerous that joinder all members impracticable. 

21. 
Roughly 4.5 million U.S.-born citizens unauthorized immigrant parents live the United States. Pew Hispanic Center, Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010, 13, Feb. 2011, http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/133.pdf. Approximately 825,000 unauthorized immigrants reside Florida alone. Id. 14. Moreover, the children unauthorized immigrants make 6.8% the students enrolled the nations elementary and secondary schools. Pew Hispanic Center, Portrait Unauthorized Immigrants the United States, April 14, 2009, http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/107.pdf. 

22. 
There are questions law fact common the class, including: (1) whether Defendants policy and practice requiring Florida resident show proof his her parents legal immigration status order establish residency for the purpose in-state tuition violates the Equal Protection Clause the United States Constitution; and (2) whether Defendants policy and practice are preempted the United States Constitution and federal law. These questions predominate over any questions affecting only the individual plaintiffs.   

23. 
Plaintiffs claims are typical the claims the class because Defendants policy and practice denying in-state tuition rates United States citizen children who reside Florida based their parents immigration status applies with equal force the proposed class. 

24. 
Plaintiffs will fairly and adequately represent the interests all members the proposed class because they seek relief behalf the class whole and have interests antagonistic other members the class. Plaintiffs are represented counsel with extensive expertise class action litigation, including litigation regarding constitutional law. 

25. 
Finally, Defendants have acted and will act grounds generally applicable the class creating and implementing the policy and practice denying in-state tuition United States citizen children undocumented immigrants, thereby making appropriate final declaratory relief with respect the class whole. 

LEGAL FRAMEWORK 
26. 
Florida Statutes Section 1009.21 provides for the classification students residents non-residents for the purpose assessing tuition institutions post-secondary education, including Florida colleges and universities.  

27. 
Under Section 1009.21, legal resident resident defined a person who has maintained his her residence this state for the preceding year, has purchased home which occupied him her his her residence, has established domicile this state pursuant 222.17. Fla. Stat.  1009.21(1)(d). The statutory definition legal resident resident does not mention immigration status. 

28. 
Section 1009.21 defines dependent child any person, whether not living with his her parent, who eligible claimed his her parent dependent under the federal income tax code. Fla. Stat.  1009.21(1)(a). Dependent students are those who are 

under age and claimed dependents their parents tax returns, filed. student younger than may classified independent the student married, the student has his her own dependents, the student served the United States military. See Guidelines Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes,  3.1 (Oct. 27, 2010), http://files.facts.usf.edu/pdfDocuments/manuals/Residency_Guidelines_October_2010.pdf. 

29. 
For dependent child qualify resident for tuition purposes, his her parents must have established legal residence this state and must have maintained legal residence this state for least consecutive months immediately prior his her initial enrollment institution higher education. Fla. Stat.  1009.21(2)(a)(1). The statute does not require any information relative the parents federal immigration status. 

30. applicant for admission need only make statement his her length residence the state and establish that his her presence or, the applicant dependent child, the presence his her parents the state currently is, and during the requisite 12month qualifying period was, for the purpose maintaining bona fide domicile, rather than for the purpose maintaining mere temporary residence abode incident enrollment institution higher education.  Fla. Stat.  1009.21(2)(a)(2). 

31. 
Florida Statutes Section 1009.21(13) directs the Florida State Board Education and the Florida Board Governors adopt rules implement the statutory law regarding the determination resident status for tuition purposes.  

32. 
The Florida State Board Educations administrative rule governs residency determinations for the Florida College Systems community colleges.  F.A.C.  6A-10.044. 

33. 
The Florida Board Governors administrative rule governs residency determinations for the State University System.  F.A.C.  72-1.001. 

34. 
These administrative rules require that non-United States citizen seeking establish Florida residency for tuition purposes present evidence verifying that she legally present the United States. F.A.C.  6A-10.044(4) and 72-1.001(5). the student dependent, the parent must present evidence the parents legal immigration status. F.A.C.  72.1-001(5)(a)(3). 

35. 
The rules further provide that both the student and parent the student dependent, must present evidence legal presence the United States. F.A.C.  6A10.044(4)(a), 72-1.001(5)(a)3 and (5). 

36. 
Miami Dade Colleges policy, for example, provides that non-U.S. citizen students and/or parents must provide evidence eligible legal immigration status the U.S. before being considered for Florida resident fees. Miami Dade College, Florida Residency for Tuition Classification -Required Documentation, http://www.mdc.edu/main/flresidency/classification.asp. 

TUITION DIFFERENTIAL 
37. 
Tuition rates for students classified non-residents are dramatically higher than those for students classified Florida residents. 

38. Miami Dade College, the cost per term the two-year associate degree programs $1,265.76 for residents, compared $4,523.64 for those classified non-residents. The cost per term the four-year baccalaureate programs $1,399.68 for residents, compared $6,246.24 for non-residents. See Miami Dade College, Tuition and Fees Academic Year 20112012, http://www.mdc.edu/main/academics/tuition.asp. Per year, those classified non-resident students have pay $6,515.76 more tuition and fees toward associates degree, and $9,693.12 more toward bachelors degree than resident student.  

39. Palm Beach State College, resident students the associate degree programs are charged only $96 per credit hour, whereas those classified non-residents are charged $349.  For credits over the academic year, those classified non-residents are charged $6,072 more tuition toward associates degree. Resident students the bachelors degree program are charged $113.64 per credit hour, whereas those classified non-residents are charged $520.90. For credits over the academic year, those classified non-residents are charged $9,774.24 more tuition toward bachelors degree than those classified residents. See Palm Beach State College, Tuition and Fees 2011-2012, http://www.palmbeachstate.edu/TuitionFees.xml. 

40. Florida International University, the annual tuition and fees total $5,678.02 for Florida residents, compared $18,077.02 for those classified non-residents. Per year, nonresident students are required pay $12,399 more tuition and fees. See Florida International University, Costs: Academic Year 2011-2012, http://admissions.fiu.edu/costs/costs.php. 

41. short, United States citizen students who reside Florida but whose parents are undocumented immigrants are charged three four times much other Florida residents for the same education Floridas public colleges and universities. result, many talented American students are forced either delay entirely forego college education. 

PLAINTIFFS STATEMENT FACTS 
42. 
Plaintiffs are United States citizens. They are dependent college students applicants, under the age 24, who resided Florida for more than consecutive months prior attempting enroll college. Plaintiffs, however, are unable establish that their parents have lawful immigration status for purposes tuition residency classification. result, Plaintiffs have been wrongfully classified non-residents and charged three four times 

higher tuition rates than other Florida resident students. The increased tuition has forced Plaintiffs delay their higher education forego entirely. 

43. 
Plaintiff Wendy Ruiz enrolled her second year Miami Dade College. Wendy was classified non-resident student for tuition purposes because she could not establish her parents lawful immigration status. Because the dramatic difference tuition caused this classification, Wendy financially unable take all the credits necessary complete her associates degree program within the typical two years. Instead, she will have delay her education and take least three years complete her degree. 

44. 
Plaintiff Noel Saucedo enrolled his second year Miami Dade College, where studies hospitality and tourism. Noel had received the Migrant Scholarship, which would have covered all the costs two-year degree. However, because Noel was classified non-resident student, was told the scholarship would reduced negligible amount approximately $900. result his classification non-resident, Noel has had pay significantly more than anticipated attend college and has work earn the money so. Noel works gas station order earn the additional money needs pay the nonresident tuition rates. His entry into the tourism field has been delayed because cannot afford complete his degree two years. 

45. 
Plaintiff Caroline Roa attempted enroll Miami Dade College for the 20112012 academic year. After being accepted, school officials informed her that order qualify for in-state tuition, Caroline would need independent student show proof her fathers legal immigration status. Caroline, however, dependent student who unable establish her fathers lawful immigration status. Caroline were classified resident student, she would qualify for the American Dream scholarship, which would cover the cost her tuition Miami Dade College entirely. Without the scholarship, Caroline cannot afford her college education. result being classified non-resident, Caroline was unable enroll Miami Dade College. Instead, she currently works two jobs the hope one day being able afford college. 

46. 
Plaintiff Kassandra Romero was admitted Palm Beach State College August 15, 2011. After registering for classes, she found she had been charged the non-resident tuition rate, which totaled more than $4,000 for four classes. She was told college employee that she needed show proof that her father was legal resident. Kassandra was unable provide such documentation. result being classified non-resident, Kassandra was forced withdraw from school. 

47.
 Plaintiff Janeth America Perez attempted enroll Miami Dade College prior the August 22, 2011, school start date. Janeth submitted her application and request for financial aid. She enrolled, but was forced withdraw before the start classes because the non-resident tuition costs were too high. She was classified non-resident despite having been born Miami and having lived Florida her entire life. result being classified non-resident, Janeth was unable remain Miami Dade College. She works full-time plant nursery instead. 

CAUSES ACTION
 COUNT ONE
 FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE; U.S.C.  1983 
48. 
The foregoing allegations are repeated and incorporated though fully set forth herein. 

49. 
The Fourteenth Amendment the United States Constitution provides that No State shall deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection the laws. 

50. 
Defendants policy and practice classifying dependent United States citizen students who reside Florida non-residents based their parents federal immigration status denies these United States citizens equal protection the laws violation the Fourteenth Amendment the United States Constitution. 

51. 
Plaintiffs seek relief pursuant U.S.C.  1983 redress the deprivation, under color state law, rights secured the United States Constitution. 

COUNT TWO 

SUPREMACY CLAUSE; U.S.C.  1983 
52. The foregoing allegations are repeated and incorporated though fully set forth herein. 
53. The Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Section the United States Constitution, 
provides that federal law the supreme law the land.  The Clause states: 
This Constitution, and the laws the United States which shall made pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, which shall made, under the authority the United States, shall the supreme law the land; and the judges every state shall bound thereby, anything the Constitution laws any State the contrary notwithstanding. 
54. 
Defendants policy and practice classifying dependent United States citizen students who reside Florida non-residents based their parents federal immigration status violates the Supremacy Clause. Defendants policy and practice constitutes regulation immigration and citizenship, thereby usurping powers that are exclusively vested the federal government. 

55. 
Defendants also violate the Supremacy Clause imposing burdens United States citizens that are contrary federal law. Defendants policy and practice conflicts with federal law and seeks regulate the field immigration and citizenship. 

56. 
Plaintiffs seek relief under the United States Constitution, and action pursuant U.S.C.  1983, redress the deprivation, under color state law, rights secured the United States Constitution. 

PRAYER FOR RELIEF 
WHEREFORE, light the foregoing, Plaintiffs request that the Court:	 
Assume jurisdiction over this matter;	 
Certify this matter class action pursuant Federal Rules Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(2) with the class defined above and with the below signed counsel appointed class counsel;	 
Declare that the challenged policy and practice classifying dependent United States citizen students who reside Florida non-residents for tuition purposes solely because their parents immigration status violates the United States Constitution;	 
Enjoin Defendants from requiring that dependent United States citizen students who reside Florida provide proof their parents immigration status for tuition purposes;	 
Grant Plaintiffs the reasonable costs suit and reasonable attorneys fees and other expenses pursuant U.S.C.  1988; and	 
Grant such other relief this Court may deem just and proper. 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this 19th day October, 2011, 
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER 
By: /s/ Miriam Haskell     Miriam Haskell 
Tania Galloni, Fla. Bar. No. 619221 Miriam Haskell, Fla. Bar. No. 69033 SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER 4770 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 760 Miami, Florida 33137  (786) 347-2056  (786) 238-2949 
tania.galloni@splcenter.org miriam.haskell@splcenter.org 
Jerri Katzerman*
 Maria Morris*
 SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
 400 Washington Ave.
 Montgomery, Alabama 36104  (334) 956-8200  (334) 956-8481 
jerri.katzerman@splcenter.org maria.morris@splcenter.org *Application for admission pro hac vice forthcoming 
Attorneys for Plaintiffs