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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Judicial Watch Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review California In-State Tuition Benefits for Illegal Aliens

(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced it filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court over a California Court of Appeals decision allowing the University of California’s to provide of $27.1 million in taxpayer funds for non-resident tuition and financial aid to illegal aliens. The petition was filed on May 23, 2017, behalf of Earl De Vries, a legal resident and taxpayer of California (Earl De Vries vs. Regents of the University of California (No. BC555614)).

Judicial Watch argues that federal immigration law requires that a state law providing benefits to illegal aliens must “affirmatively” provide for such eligibility. In 2011 the California State Legislature passed and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill giving illegal immigrant college students access to state-funded financial aid.  Under the California Constitution, however, the UC Board of Regents is “entirely independent” of the state legislature in policy matters, so there is no lawful way for the California legislature to allow or require the University of California to provide the public benefits for illegal aliens.  And, under the federal law, only state legislatures may provide any in-state tuition and public benefits for illegal aliens.  Despite this, the UC Board of Regents began providing the benefits anyway.

According to the Judicial Watch petition:

By finding that entities other than state legislatures can determine illegal aliens’ eligibility for public benefits, the Court of Appeal’s decision weakened the federal government’s powers over national immigration policy, transforming a law that allows 50 state legislatures to participate in immigration decisions into one that could allow 500 or 5,000 state agencies and local governments to participate in those decisions.

In August 2014, Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit on behalf of De Vries in the L.A. County Superior Court, asking the court to halt the estimated annual $19.6 million in non-resident tuition waivers; $4.3 million in taxpayer-funded grants and scholarships; and $3.2 million in state loans the Regents had started giving illegal alien students.  Under California law, taxpayers have the right to sue to prevent unlawful expenditures of taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed resources.

In March 2015, the Superior Court dismissed the complaint and the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, affirmed the Superior Court ruling on December 9, 2016.

In January 2017, Judicial Watch filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court.  On February 22, 2017, the petition for review was denied.

“California politicians should follow federal and state law rather than attempt to unlawfully force California taxpayers to subsidize illegal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “In-state tuition for illegal aliens at the University of California is just another form of sanctuary policy, which is both a misuse of tax dollars and a violation of law.”

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