|One more reason I'm never moving back to California:
As reported by the NY Times (sorry for the copy paste job, they don't have any permalinks. Any suggestions?)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - About three dozen students filed a lawsuit against the University of California on Wednesday, charging that it had violated federal law by allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at its campuses while maintaining higher rates for out-of-state students.
The students, all from out of state, are represented by a legal team that includes Kris W. Kobach, a conservative lawyer and former Justice Department official who shaped national immigration policy under former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Mr. Kobach said the policy discriminates against out-of-state students who are American citizens and pay higher tuition than students who are in this country illegally.
"Citizen students have been mortgaging their futures and taking on really heavy student loans," Mr. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said in a telephone interview from Sacramento, where he is working with the firm of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley. "Meanwhile, they see aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States getting a massive subsidy from the State of California."
The move plunges California into the midst of a national debate over how to handle the millions of students living in this country illegally.
Federal law requires state universities that offer in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants to do the same for students from other states, imposing a steep financial barrier to the policy. But since 2001, nine states, including California, have passed laws to circumvent that requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Supporters say children who are illegal immigrants did not choose to enter the United States illegally and can make valuable contributions to society if allowed to continue their studies.
Ravi Poorsina, a spokeswoman for the University of California, said it allows students who have attended local high schools for three years and graduated from a local high school to benefit from in-state tuition rates. Students who are illegal immigrants must also sign an affidavit saying they are applying for legal residency.
Ms. Poorsina said that in the 2003-2004 school year, about 390 illegal immigrants paid in-state tuition, currently about $6,700 a year. Out-of-state students pay about $24,500 a year. "We believe it's not in conflict with federal law," she said of the university's policy.
But the adoption of this policy by some states has stirred others to another action. This year, seven states considered passing laws barring illegal immigrants from benefiting from in-state tuition rates, the Conference of State Legislatures said.
Mr. Kobach, who helped shape the Justice Department's policy of tracking and deporting thousands of Arab and Muslim illegal immigrants in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, filed a similar suit in Kansas in 2004. It was dismissed on technical grounds but is now on appeal.
Mr. Kobach has received support from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington group that advocates strict limits on immigration. The group has provided research and assistance in finding plaintiffs.
Chaning Jang, a senior at the University of California, Davis, said he joined the lawsuit after reading an advertisement placed by the lawyers in a college newspaper. "It's kind of an insult that illegal immigrants who aren't U.S. citizens get more than we do," said Mr. Jang, 21, of Hilo, Hawaii.