In the latest attempt to allow certain illegal immigrants to attend one of Georgia’s college and universities and pay in-state tuition, two Georgia Perimeter College students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Board of Regents and many of the University System College presidents. The suit claims that the students have had their rights violated under the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which states that federal law is the supreme law of the land.
Lorena Guillen and Karla Lopez are students paying out of state tuition at Georgia Perimeter College. Both are participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instituted by President Obama that allows certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses. While they are classified as having a lawful presence in the country under DACA, these students are not considered lawfully present by the Board of Regents.
The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction against charging DACA students from Georgia as out of state residents, restitution of tuition and fees paid over and above the in-state tuition rate, and compensatory damages.
In February, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a separate lawsuit seeking in-state tuition for undocumented students. The court did not address the merits of the case, however, saying that the Board of Regents had sovereign immunity from a suit. This latest suit against the Board of Regents and college presidents addresses them individually as well as part of the Board, which the Supreme Court indicated might pass muster.