Undocumented immigrants who qualify for deferred deportation will get tuition breaks at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts, thanks to Governor Deval Patrick’s order. An unnamed official told The Boston Globe that Gov. Deval Patrick will send a letter Monday to High Education Commissioner Richard Freeland announcing the new policy.
The news marks a victory for immigration rights activists who argue that immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children should have a path to citizenship and be able to enjoy the same residency benefits as citizens.
Some oppose the change in policy, arguing that state resources should go to citizens.
Patrick had said previously he supported providing in-state tuition to undocumented residents of Massachusetts, according to a report by the State House News Service, calling it a “matter of fairness.” “They didn’t sneak in,” Patrick said, according to the State House News Service. “They were brought here by their parents. They only know one country and that is the United States.”
But not all states have responded favorably to President Barack Obama’s June directive to defer deportation for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer opposes allowing beneficiaries of deferred deportation to pay in-state tuition, though Maricopa Community Colleges officials say those who present work authorization will qualify to pay the state rate.
Four states, including Arizona, have laws that specifically prohibit undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alabama and South Carolina bar the undocumented from attending public colleges, regardless of how much tuition they pay.