Supreme Court rejects California tuition appeal, remands immigration law challenge

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday denied certiorari [order list, PDF] in Martinez v. Regents of the University of California [docket], thereby rejecting a challenge to California's policy of granting in-state tuition for state colleges and universities to illegal immigrants who graduated from California high schools. Last year, the California Supreme Court [official website] held [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the state's policy did not conflict with federal law because a student's high school graduation, not his or her residency, formed the basis for granting in-state tuition. Most students who take advantage of this rule are enrolled in community colleges [LAT report]. Also on Monday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Hazleton v. Lozano [docket], which challenged a ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that two anti-illegal immigration laws passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania were unconstitutional. In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], the court ordered the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to reexamine whether Hazleton can restrict illegal immigrants' ability to work and rent housing.

The Supreme Court ruled last month in Whiting that an Arizona employment law imposing penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants is not preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) [text]. The ruling opens the door for states to enact similar restraints on immigration. Several states have already enacted or proposed [JURIST reports] tough immigration laws. In March, the Oklahoma State Senate [official website] approved [JURIST report] a bill that would give police officers the authority to question the citizenship status of any person lawfully stopped for a traffic violation and arrest them without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe the person is in the country illegally. Also in March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert [official website] signed an immigration law requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor, but a federal judge blocked [JURIST reports] it less than 24 hours after it took effect. In February, the Indiana Senate [official website] approved a bill [JURIST report] requiring suspected illegal immigrants to provide proof of their legal status and calls for all public meetings, websites and documents to be in English only.

 

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