Georgia attorney cites Trump’s win in defending in-state tuition rules


A top lawyer for Georgia on Thursday cited Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election as he defended a state policy barring immigrants without legal status from paying in-state college tuition rates.

At issue is the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which grants work permits and temporary deportation deferrals to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children without authorization. Ten DACA recipients living in Georgia are suing the Board of Regents in the Fulton County Superior Court for the ability to pay in-state tuition, which is about three times less expensive than Georgia’s out-of-state rates.

In mentioning Trump, Senior Assistant Attorney General Russell Willard was referring to how the president-elect has vowed to cancel the DACA program. He also cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 4-4 deadlock from June over the Obama administration’s plans to expand DACA and create a similar relief program for the immigrant parents of U.S. citizens.

“Regardless of how one feels about the results, there has been a national election,” Willard told Fulton Superior Court Chief Judge Gail Tusan. “There is going to be a new administration in January. And the future of the DACA program is very much in doubt with the incoming administration.”

Charles Kuck, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, told the judge the state was bringing up issues that have nothing to do with the case. Kuck pointed to how the regents’ policy requires universities to verify the “lawful presence” of people applying for in-state tuition and then he highlighted federal records that say DACA recipients are considered legally present in the U.S.

“There is a clear legal right of my clients,” Kuck told the judge, “to seek in-state tuition in the state of Georgia according to the plain language of the statute.”

This is Kuck’s second attempt to reverse the state policy barring in-state tuition for DACA recipients. This year, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected their first attempt, saying sovereign immunity — the legal doctrine that protects state agencies from being sued — shields the Board of Regents from such lawsuits.

Without indicating how she would rule, Tusan said she would issue her decision by the end of this month. She is considering Kuck’s motion for summary judgment and Willard’s request to dismiss the case.



Next Up in Georgia Politics

Why are people still racist? What science says about America's race problem.
Why are people still racist? What science says about America's race problem.

Torch-bearing white supremacists shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Protesters and counter protesters colliding with violence and chaos. A car driven by a known Nazi sympathizer mowing down a crowd of activists. Many Americans responded to this weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, with disbelieving horror. How could this happen in...
Georgia congressmen spent millions while cruising to re-election
Georgia congressmen spent millions while cruising to re-election

The money went to luxury fishing trips on the Chesapeake Bay, fundraisers at D.C.’s poshest restaurants and a 75th-birthday blowout at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. There were also tickets to the Masters golf tournament and a hotel room in the Virgin Islands, not to mention a stable of high-level campaign and social media consultants. Georgia&rsquo...
Before Cabinet ascent, Price was Georgia’s biggest campaign spender
Before Cabinet ascent, Price was Georgia’s biggest campaign spender

Members of Georgia’s U.S. House delegation raised and spent millions of dollars ahead of last year’s election, but the state’s undisputed master of the political money game was former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. The Roswell Republican spent almost $2.5 million in 2015 and 2016, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of...
Bannon out at the White House after turbulent run
Bannon out at the White House after turbulent run

Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election by embracing their shared nationalist impulses, departed the White House on Friday after a turbulent tenure in which he shaped the fiery populism of the president’s first seven months in office. Bannon’s exit, the latest in a string of high-profile...
Georgia will change policy after complaints over notice sent to voters
Georgia will change policy after complaints over notice sent to voters

After facing a legal backlash over sending address confirmation notices to tens of thousands of voters who had moved within the county they had already registered in, Georgia has quietly decided to reverse course. State officials confirmed Friday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Georgia will no longer give those voters a 30-day deadline...
More Stories