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9.25.2009

apa organizations defend state tuition for undocumented students

Did you know that nearly half of the undocumented immigrants in the University of California system are Asian Americans? Surprising, right? That's why Asian American groups are fighting to defend AB 540, a law that lets undocumented students pay in-state tuition prices: Asian Americans: UC's Invisible Illegal Immigrants. More here: Coalition files legal brief in support of state tuition law.

Yesterday in Los Angeles, a press conference was held to announce that a coalition of over 70 Asian Pacific American civil rights, legal and community organizations will be filing a legal brief in support of immigrant college students whose ability to pay in-state tuition under a California law, AB 540, may be seriously threatened by the outcome of the case Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, currently before the California Supreme Court.

The brief describes how thousands of APA students have been able to afford to attend college in California under AB 540, how undocumented students would be harmed if AB 540 was eliminated, and how APA youth become undocumented and the challenges they face. From APALC's press release:
AB 540 is a state law that allows both documented and undocumented students to attend California's public state colleges and universities and pay in-state tuition rates if they have: attended at least three years of high school in California, graduated from a California high school, and met other conditions. Enacted in 2001, AB 540 has made it possible for thousands of California high school students to attend public community colleges, Cal State schools, and universities in California. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging its legality and the part of the provision that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, alleging that it confers a benefit based on residency and conflicts with federal law.

Although APAs make up over 50% of the total number of documented and undocumented AB 540 recipients, this brief supports the University of California's (UC) efforts to keep open pathways to higher education for undocumented youth. The brief describes how thousands of APA students have been able to afford college under AB 540, how undocumented students would be harmed if AB 540 was eliminated, and how APA youth become undocumented and the challenges they face.
When talking about undocumented students, the conversation tends to revolve around Latino students. But Asian Pacific Amerians make up over 50% of the total number of documented and undocumented AB 540 recipients. What happen to all these students if AB 540 was eliminated? Read the full press release from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center here, and download the brief here.