Higher-ed math: Proposition 308 would let Dreamers pay in-state tuition; Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group, Immigration Dept. Chair, is all in on in-state tuition.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) supporters demonstrate near the White House in Washington Sept. 5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Sept. 5 that the DACA program is “being rescinded” by President Donald Trump

By John Brown || Cronkite News

Undocumented Arizona residents are able to attend one of the state universities and, even though they have to pay 50% more for the privilege, state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita thinks they can probably get financial aid to help.

“So, like, what’s the problem?” asked the Scottsdale Republican, who sees no need for a ballot initiative that would let undocumented state residents pay in-state tuition.

The problem, said Arizona Education Association President Marisol Garcia, is that those students “are brilliant and we want to give them a shot. It’s disappointing to know that there would be anyone against this.”

“This” is Proposition 308, which would make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition if they have lived in the state for at least two years and got their high school diploma in the state.

If approved, the measure would reverse a 2006 ballot measure, Proposition 300, that prohibited undocumented Arizona residents from being classified as in-state students for the purpose of getting in-state tuition. That measure passed by an overwhelming majority of 72-28 percent.

But things may have changed since then: An OH Predictive Insights poll from early September found that 53% of likely Arizona voters said they support Proposition 308, with 33% opposed and the rest undecided.

“We have a tremendous number of people moving to this area, from other places, and with that brings a different perspective,” said the Rev. Hunter Reppin, rector at the Church of Epiphany Tempe, in explaining the apparent shift.


“Passing proposition 308 is a no-brainer for one that is highly popular among both political parties because it affects dreamers, young people brought to America through no fault of their own who have called us country home for the majority of their lives.’

‘Studies have shown that would be little impact to Arizona taxpayers is 308 passes and undocumented students are able to attend universities in Arizona at in-state tuition rates.’

‘Finally, the argument that this would be a “magnet for illegal immigration“ does not hold any water. If past 308 will require a student to have attended a public or private high school in Arizona for at least two years prior to receiving in-state tuition, it is doubtful that this would be a reason that someone would decide to migrate to Arizona.

Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Department Chair

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October 2022