Judicial Watch is filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court against the University of California on behalf of a state resident. The watchdog group argues that an independent state agency like the Board of Regents is overstepping its authority by issuing in-state grants to illegal students.
The controversy involves the fact that UC distributes state tuition benefits to non-citizens. Judicial Watch asserts that although the state has the ability to disperse aid like tuition to people in the country illegally, the Board does not.
The Regents of the University of California is the governing body for the statewide higher learning system. Like a number of California policies, it takes a favorable stance toward students unlawfully residing in the U.S.
In fact, the University has a number of web pages dedicated to helping criminal residents apply for school, live on campus, and keep their identities a secret. The system-wide resources include legal services, financial aid solutions, and counseling facilities.
The Board recently passed regulations that limit the number of out-of-state students permitted annually to attend UC. However, the 18 percent cap does not apply to “undocumented” applicants. Criminal residents who qualify for DACA and California’s AB540 status are even eligible for in-state tuition rates, a $35,000 yearly reduction.
These types of benefits for illegals are only the tip of the iceberg. The ten-campus university also argues that because these people have been here since childhood, often attending public school and graduating, they have the right to taxpayer resources.
Janet Napolitano, UC President, issued an announcement after President Trump was elected in November. The “Statement of Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community” explains the attitude and actions approved by the Regents.
It reads like a sanctuary city instruction manual.
“No UC campus police department will join those state and local law enforcement agencies that have entered into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or undertake other joint efforts with federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, to investigate, detain or arrest individuals for violation of federal immigration law,” the statement asserts.
Napolitano’s declaration also includes specific instructions for campus police. They should avoid “requesting information about immigration status from crime victims and witnesses.”
The former Secretary of Homeland Security (2009-2013) also launched the Undocumented Students Initiative in 2013, which delivered financial aid and services in the amount of $8.4 million to illegals. The program expired in June 2016.
Incidentally, Napolitano is under investigation by the Board for allegedly interfering with the state’s financial audit. Elaine Howle, the official conducting the review, recently revealed that Napolitano’s office had insisted on seeing the campuses’ responses before they were sent to the state.
According to emails, Napolitano’s staff directed campus administrators to get approval for their replies before submitting them to the auditor. The examination also discovered that Napolitano’s office amassed $175 million in reserve funds, which were not disclosed.
However, the Board of Regents’ unswerving support of criminal aliens demonstrates to students that breaking the law does not matter. Undergraduates have learned that lesson so well that many are lobbying to make the university a “sanctuary campus.”
Madeleine Villanueva, an undocumented UC Berkley student and political economy major said after Trump was elected, “No one should be scared to go to class because someone can deport them.” She further stated, “We’re here. We’re willing to fight back.”
This kind of squatter mentality is rampant among the school’s undocumented students and officials.
Supporting the idea of a sanctuary campus, Cinthia Flores, manager of the Dream Resource Center at the UCLA Labor Center said recently, “University systems have a certain degree of autonomy to lead the way.”
Judicial Watch has filed the action against this type of ideology. They attest that appropriating taxpayer funds to pay for a college education for illegals is “unlawful.” According to the lawsuit, approximately $27 million is being used by the Board of Regents for criminal alien residents. Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton explained that the practice was unlawful. “They can’t authorize illegal benefits, like state tuition,” he said.
The Supreme Court petition submitted by the group is designed to stop the practice. It also sends a warning to other independent governing bodies around the country that are trying to write their own immigration laws.
Judicial Watch blames the University of California’s Board of Regents for setting a pattern that emboldens unlawful activity. By telling criminal residents that taxpayers will cover the costs of their education, the university has established a “kind of statewide sanctuary policy.”
Supporters hope that the lawsuit will determine that the Board has overstepped its authority, and legally put an end to the practice.