Ahead of court case, DACA recipients state case for in-state tuition

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is suing ABOR for offering in-state tuition to DACA students

Two hours before the Arizona Supreme Court was set to hear opening arguments in a case which will decide whether DACA students are eligible to retain access to in-state tuition, supporters stood on the steps of the Supreme Court to make their own case.

Four current, former or future ASU students spoke to the crowd assembled outside the Court on Monday morning  along with other DACA recipients and supporters. They spoke with a sense of urgency about the future of their education, saying they wouldn't be able to afford to continue their education at ASU if they are deemed ineligible for in-state tuition.

The fight for and against in-state tuition for DACA recipients has been ongoing in Arizona, with the Arizona Court of Appeals deciding in 2017 that DACA students are not eligible for in-state tuition. Despite the decision, the Arizona Board of Regents has continued offering the in-state tuition to DACA students, prompting Attorney General Mark Brnovich to file a lawsuit alleging that DACA recipients don't qualify for in-state tuition.

Jocelyn Lopez, a DACA recipient and biomedical sciences freshman, had questions for Brnovich.

"I would ask 'why the hatred? Why does DACA recipients getting an education threaten you so much?'" Lopez said.

She said she wouldn't be able to afford to continue her education without the benefits of in-state tuition.

The students and supporters held handmade signs with slogans like "education liberates" and "does it look like I'm made of money?"

Belen Sisa, a political science senior and the advocacy director of Undocumented Students for Education Equity, says she's done playing nice in the fight for in-state tuition.

"It's pretty ridiculous that we continue to have to defend our human right to education," Sisa said. "We'll make it out own personal mission that Brnovich is never the Attorney General of the state of Arizona ever again."

Among the supporters was Arizona gubernatorial candidate David Garcia, who is running as a Democrat to unseat Gov. Doug Ducey

As the Court hears the opening arguments of the case today, DACA recipients are fighting to keep hope alive. They chanted together si se puede - yes we can.

Sisa said it's more important than ever to "fight for your rights." 

"We are fighting for your rights," Sisa said. "We are behind you. You are not alone, and we cannot do this without you."


Reach the reporters at flatifi@asu.edu and rdhood@asu.edu or follow @rhoodofficial and @fortesalatifi on Twitter. 

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