Lawsuit Challenging In-State Tuition for Illegals

Federation for American Immgration Reform, Jul. 16

(Topeka, Kansas—July 16, 2004) A law suit will be filed on Monday July 19 in Federal Court in Topeka, Kansas, charging that a new state law permitting illegal aliens to attend Kansas public universities at in-state tuition rates violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and other federal laws. The suit is being filed on behalf of 24 American citizens who claim they are being denied the same benefits that Kansas is offering to illegal immigrants.

The suit seeks to enjoin the law from taking effect, or to require the state of Kansas to extend in-state tuition benefits to everyone attending a public university in the state.

The suit will be filed by Chris Kobach, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City Law School, on behalf of the plaintiffs who were identified by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Professor Kobach was formerly a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice on immigration and homeland security. The plaintiffs include students and parents who are being denied reduced in-state tuition rates in Kansas universities, while those benefits are being granted to illegal immigrants.

The suit alleges that the Kansas law, signed on May 20 of this year by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, violates federal statutes that require that any state benefit made available to illegal aliens must be offered to citizens and legal residents of the other 49 states.

“The new law in Kansas offers a better deal to illegal immigrants than it does to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, including some who own property and pay taxes in Kansas,” said Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR. “Ironically, a foreign student who legally obtains a visa to attend a public university in Kansas will wind up paying a far higher tuition than someone who broke the law.” While this suit is being filed in direct challenge to the Kansas policy, its outcome could affect similar policies in other states.

Professor Kobach and several of the plaintiffs will hold a press conference at the south steps of the State Capitol in Topeka at 10:00 AM CDT on Monday July 19, 2004. Professor Kobach and several of the students and parents on whose behalf the suit is being filed will be available to answer questions from the media.

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