Photo: University of Georgia
Activists protested Tuesday in front of the offices of the Georgia Board of Regents to demand an end to a measure that bars undocumented students from admission to the state’s five most-selective public universities.
Critics say that Policy 4.1.6., established in 2011, creates a new kind of segregation based on immigrant status at institutions that up to several decades ago denied access to African Americans.
The protest, during which several participants burst into the offices, ended with the arrest of three students, four activists and a university professor.
Of the 318,000 students enrolled in the state’s university system in 2011, only around 300 were undocumented and just 29 of them were admitted to the five universities covered by Policy 4.1.6. - the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia College and State University, the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia State University.
Previously, all of Georgia’s public universities admitted undocumented immigrants, though they could not receive federal or state aid and had to pay tuition at out-of-state rates.
Undocumented students attending other public institutions in Georgia must pay out-of-state tuition, which is as much as four times higher than the rate for residents.
The Board of Regents is maintaining that requirement even for undocumented young people protected by for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
That stance has prompted a lawsuit by 39 DACA beneficiaries, represented by immigration lawyer Charles Kuck.
The plaintiffs allege that because they have legal status under DACA, they should be eligible for admission to the five selective universities as well as for in-state tuition.
“They (the Board of Regents) still have not explained, during the litigation, the reason why they have interpreted the law in a directly opposite way,” Kuck, who hopes for the judge’s decision by the end of this month, told Efe.