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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 11:18am

Regents Restrict Undocumented Students

The state Board of Regents voted Wednesday to approve new policies regarding illegal immigrant applicants to Georgia colleges and universities.

The regents took up the issue at their meeting Wednesday.

The new policy prohibits the schools from accepting illegal immigrant applicants if the school has rejected any academically qualified students in the two most recent academic years.

It also requires each school to verify the legal presence in the U.S. of each person applying for resident tuition status.

The board was forced to address the issue of illegal immigrant students in Georgia after a high-profile case involving a Kennesaw State University student who was nearly deported following an arrest in the spring.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are urging the Regents to reject the proposal.

"We're talking about children who have come here as two-year-olds, as four-year-olds, as six-year-olds, through no choice of their own," says Azadeh Shahshahani of the Georgia ACLU. "They have grown up in Georgia. They have graduated from Georgia high schools. They consider themselves to be Americans."

Georgia has allowed students without legal documents to attend state colleges and universities as long as they pay out-of-state tuition.

The Regents recently conducted a study and found there are about 500 undocumented students in Georgia colleges and universities.