THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
The University of Toledo is reaching out to immigrant students. President Lloyd Jacobs says UT will charge qualified students with temporary legal status in-state tuition, instead of out-of-state tuition that is nearly twice as expensive. That’s a good deal.
The Ohio Board of Regents has said that illegal immigrants who qualify for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can qualify for in-state tuition. Although that is an advisory opinion, Dr. Jacobs says UT will embrace it.
DACA gives young people who were brought to this country illegally before they turned 16 two years of legal status that can be renewed. That allows them to work legally, get a driver’s license, and attend college for an in-state tuition rate.
The President instituted DACA by executive order when Congress failed to act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would control the influx of legal immigrants and establish a pathway to citizenship for illegal ones. Congress failed in this mission under President George W. Bush and is stalled again now, even though the Senate has approved a bipartisan bill that polls suggest is acceptable to most voters.
More than 2,000 young Ohioans are enrolled in DACA. Paying in-state tuition is a break for many students that can mean the difference between a chance at college and no chance. Other Ohio schools, including Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University, and Owens Community College, are expected to follow UT’s lead.
DACA allows enlightened institutions such as UT to help attract more bright and able students. That is a good thing, despite the chagrin of local xenophobes. But Congress still needs to pass an immigration bill.