US Supreme Court allows in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in California

The US Supreme Court building is reflected in water August 5, 2010 in Washington, DC.
The US Supreme Court building is reflected in water August 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear a challenge to California’s in-state tuition policy. That policy allows undocumented high school graduates to pay the same rate as California students at public colleges and universities.

Opponents to California’s tuition policy contended that it violates a provision of federal immigration law. That law bars states from offering “any post-secondary benefit” to undocumented immigrants.

But California’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s policy last year. The justices ruled that offering in-state tuition to undocumented students is legal because it’s based on whether a student attends and graduates from a California high school, not on the student’s immigration status.

Lawyers from the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court’s refusal to hear that appeal means that California’s policy stands – and that similar laws in 11 other states also remain legal.

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