A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Board of Regents challenging Georgia’s policy on limiting undocumented students’ access to state universities on undocumented students. Judge John Goger ruled that under sovereign immunity, the students can’t sue the state. Under the current state policy, undocumented students are barred from the top five most selective schools in Georgia and pay out-of-state tuition at other state schools. Martin Lopez-Galicia is an undocumented student who lives in Atlanta with his family. He says Georgia’s undocumented students will continue to fight against the policy.
A case pitting undocumented college students against the University System of Georgia began Thursday in DeKalb County Superior Court. The case pivots on whether it’s a violation of federal policy to bar the students from top public colleges. The first court appearance concerned one simple question: whether the case should proceed in Fulton or DeKalb County. Speaking to a packed courtroom, Judge Mark Anthony Scott noted a “strong interest” in the case. But he said he needs more time to decide where it should proceed.
Opponents of a state college system policy are still waiting for a response to their lawsuit challenging Georgia’s treatment of undocumented students. But they say the state has already granted some rights to the students who are suing.
Undocumented students suing the University System of Georgia say their lives are on hold. An Obama administration order allows some to work legally. But state rules still bar them from Georgia’s top colleges.
Pres. Obama issued an executive order Friday. It gives immunity to some undocumented people from deportation. It will affect the majority of the estimated 400,000 undocumented residents in Georgia, experts say. That figure includes many students who were brought here illegally as children.
Georgia’s top university official asked lawmakers Tuesday to table a controversial bill. It would bar illegal immigrants from attending any of the state’s 35 public colleges and universities. The bill would affect about 300 students or one tenth of one percent of students enrolled in the University System of Georgia.