Georgia’s university system just voted this week to ban undocumented students from enrolling in five of the most prestigious state colleges.
In the past two years, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Oklahoma have refused in-state tuition benefits to students who entered the USA illegally with their parents but grew up and went to school in the state. That represents a reversal from earlier this decade, when 10 states passed laws allowing in-state rates for such students.
This summer, South Carolina became the first state to bar undocumented students from all public colleges and universities.
North Carolina’s community colleges in May ordered its 58 campuses to stop enrolling undocumented students after the state attorney general said admitting them may violate federal law.
There are two debates going on here: whether students who’ve lived in the state for a significant portion of their lives, but don’t have citizenship status, should qualify for in-state tuition—and, more radically, whether they should be permitted to enroll in state schools at all.
Georgia’s decision is also part of a larger push that’s been gaining momentum over the past year to block undocumented students from the educational system on all levels.
A number of public elementary and high schools have been taking steps to gather information on students’ citizenship status and to discourage undocumented students from attending. One Iowa gubernatorial candidate has even been campaigning on the idea of overturning Plyler vs. Doe, the Supreme Court decision that established the right to K-12 education for all children regardless of immigration status.