Activists clashed with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Monday over his refusal to drop a state lawsuit against community colleges offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who qualify for deportation relief.
Horne met with a dozen activists and told them he had no choice but to move forward with the lawsuit, Capitol Media Services reports. His office is suing Maricopa Community College District in the Phoenix area and says he will go after other colleges that have adopted similar policies, including Pima Community College in Tucson.
A 2006 state referendum prohibits people “without lawful immigration status” from receiving in-state tuition or public financial assistance for college.
But the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy has raised new questions about the precise meaning of the law. Beneficiaries of DACA receive relief from deportation for a renewable, two-year period, along with work authorization.
The University of Arizona lists “U.S. employment authorization documents” as acceptable to prove lawful status under the state law.
This isn’t the first time Horne has found himself embroiled in a dispute with Arizona’s Latino community. As Superintendent of Schools, a position he held prior to his election as Attorney General in 2010, Horne spearheaded the effort to ban a progressive Mexican American Studies curriculum from Tucson’s public schools.