COLUMBUS — A pair of Republican lawmakers from opposite corners of the state have united to introduce a bill to undo decisions by some public universities to charge lower in-state tuition and provide other financial aid to some illegal immigrants.
The Ohio Board of Regents, citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, recently told the schools that temporary residency status could be conferred to illegal immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents.
The opinion was based on existing state law and the federal Deferred Action for Childhood program, which can defer deportation proceedings for such immigrants if they don’t pose a risk to national security or public safety.
“The recent decision by the board of regents will cost Ohio taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and blatantly ignores a requirement in administrative code that defines a resident as someone who is qualified to vote in the state,” said Rep. Matt Lynch (R., Solon). “Illegal immigrants in the so-called DACA program do not have lawful status and cannot vote and, therefore, should not be granted in-state status.”
He is sponsoring the bill with Rep. Wes Rutherford (R., Hamilton).
They argue that the decision could cost Ohio taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The attorney general’s legal opinion issued at the request of the regents, however, determined that “an institution of higher education may determine that the person who has had his request for deferred action under the DACA program granted is a ‘resident’ ... or classify the person as a resident ... for state subsidy and tuition surcharge purposes.”
That authority would end, however, once the immigrant loses his deferred status.
— Jim Provance