SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
The steep uphill battle to curb illegal immigration nationwide got a pair of much-needed victories this week from two separate courts, one federal and one state.
First a California appellate court ruled that a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state measure granting illegal immigrants discounted in-state tuition at public colleges can move forward. A lower court had dismissed the suit but the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled the case could continue.
At issue are the millions of taxpayer dollars used annually to subsidize the college educations of illegal immigrants. A group of out-of-state students argued that the benefit violates federal law which specifically prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining tuition breaks that are not available to all United States citizens.
A federal appeals court struck a similar lawsuit last year challenging Kansas’ discounted tuition for illegal immigrants. A federal judge in Topeka first ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the legal challenge because they failed to demonstrate that they had been harmed and the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld the decision.
This week’s second victory in the mission to reduce illegal immigration came, incredibly, from the nation’s most liberal federal appellate court, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 26-page decision the court upheld an Arizona law that penalizes businesses that hire illegal immigrants and requires them to verify workers legal status.
Hispanic groups and businesses say the law, created to lessen the economic incentive for illegal immigrants to sneak into the U.S., infringes on federal immigration powers. A lower court in Arizona didn’t buy that argument in December and the law took effect this year. Immigration advocates appealed and were probably shocked at the ruling, considering the 9th Circuit’s history.
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