Friday, July 24, 2009

Texas Attorney General Opinion: In-state tuition for unauthorized aliens who are Texas residents not in violation of equal protection clause

In the January 2009 ISAAC E-Newsletter, we reported on the issue of in-state tuition and illegal aliens. We also mentioned that Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R., Smith County) asked Attorney General Greg Abbott "whether the State of Texas is in violation of federal law and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, by allowing illegal aliens in Texas the benefit of in-state tuition in state colleges and universities to the exclusion of nonresident United States citizens."

Attorney General Abbott's office issued a lengthy opinion and stated:

Accordingly, a federal or state court in Texas would likely conclude that Education Code sections 54.052(a)(3) and 54.053(3) do not facially violate the federal Equal Protection Clause because the statutory prerequisites for in-state tuition are reasonable requirements that serve Texas's legitimate or substantial interest in assuring that only bona fide residents that graduate from Texas high schools or receive the diploma equivalent from this state are eligible for in-state tuition. However, no court has addressed whether a statute similar to the Texas statutes conforms to the mandates of the Equal Protection Clause. (Emphasis added)
I encourage everyone to read the entire opinion and remember to keep separating the wheat from the chaff.

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