The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has embraced the case of five Florida college students suing to pay in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition, “Children of Illegal Immigrants Sue Florida Over State’s College Tuition Policy,” http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2011/11/02/children-of-illegal-immigrants-sue-florida-over-states-college-tuition-policy/
Five U.S.-born students (four born in Miami & one born in California) of illegal alien parents are suing the Florida Commissioner of Education because the students cannot provide proof of their parents’ Florida residency status; thereby allowing the student to pay in-state vs. out-of-state tuition rates which are necessarily higher. In 2010, Florida’s illegal alien population cost Florida’s taxpayers $5.4B/year behind only California ($21.8B/year), Texas ($8.9B/year) and New York ($9.5B/year) (http://www.numbersusa.com/content/news/april-10-2009/florida-study-reveals-high-cost-illegal-immigration-and-voter-dissatisfaction.htm). The state of Florida is grappling with their illegal immigration problem by withdrawing one of the rewards for violating our immigration laws.
On the other hand, Texas & California rewards those who manage to evade the immigration authorities by offering in-state tuition to illegal aliens. (“Texas Dream Act Provides In-State Tuition to Children of Illegal Immigrants,” http://news.yahoo.com/texas-dream-act-provides-state-tuition-children-illegal-195700309.html) & (“In-state tuition for illegal immigrants is preserved with California Supreme Court ruling,” http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/undocumented-students.html)
As a point of reference, If the student is 24 or older or can provide proof of financial independence, then the student is defined as “independent” and can provide proof of Florida residency without relying on the parent. On the other hand, if the student is under 24 years old then Florida automatically defines the student as a “dependent”; therefore, students must provide proof of the parents’ residency in order to be granted the in-state tuition rate.
Each of the five plaintiffs suing Florida in Wendy Ruiz, et al. vs. Florida Commissioner of Education et al: (http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/case/101911_FL_Tuition_Complaint.pdf) were either already enrolled in a college and sought to transfer to another university or were attempting to enroll in college as a first year student. Two of the plaintiffs managed to enroll in Miami-Dade College and pay the in-state tuition rate but were informed that they would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate when they attempted to enroll in Florida International University (FIU). Two plaintiffs were advised that they would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate when they attempted to enroll in Miami Dade College. The remaining plaintiff was advised that she would pay the out-of-state tuition rate when she attempted to enroll at Palm Beach College.
What is truly interesting is that for those students desiring to attend Miami Dade College & Palm Beach State College, the only proof required of the parents are documents showing, at a minimum, a state of Florida identification card (if evidence of no ties to another state) and a utility bill with proof of 12 consecutive months of payment (https://www.mdc.edu/Forms/residency.pdf) & (http://www.palmbeachstate.edu/documents/admissions/floridainstateinfo.pdf). To attend, FIU, the student must only provide the student’s birth certificate and the parents’ apartment lease agreement (http://admissions.fiu.edu/how/forms/residency.pdf).
While such minimum requirements are established, it begs the question, where do the parents live, how do they pay their expenses and how do they stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter? This lawsuit may serve to provide more investigative material to ones who seek to expose those who help illegal aliens to live in the shadows.
The Fiscal burden of illegal immigration on United States Taxpayers