State Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott

State Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott

PHOENIX – Parting ways with party members, a Prescott Republican wants to allow “dreamers” who attend Arizona colleges and universities to pay the same in-state tuition as any other resident.

Rep. Noel Campbell said he’s all in favor of the United States having secure borders. And he acknowledged that the children involved were brought here illegally by their parents.

But Campbell told Capitol Media Services the reality is that these children, many of whom have known no other home, are here to stay. More to the point, he said they already have been educated through high school at public expense.

So he figures that it makes no sense to now tell them they can’t finish their education and get trained to do jobs that Arizona needs. And he wants to take his case directly to voters who first approved the restriction in 2006.

Campbell conceded opposition to his HCR 2048 is likely to come from those within his own party.

It was the Republican-controlled Legislature that put the measure on the 2006 ballot. It spells out that any person who is not a U.S. citizen or legal resident or is “without lawful immigration status” is ineligible to be charged the same tuition at state colleges and universities available to residents.

All that, Campbell noted, was before the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012. It allows those who were brought here as children to not only remain but also to work.

The most recent figures put the number of DACA recipients at close to 700,000 nationally, with about 30,000 in Arizona.

Campbell said they deserve different legal treatment than others not here legally.

“Their parents broke the law, of course,” he said, as compared to the children who had no choice.

Campbell thinks he can make the case to voters in November that the 2006 measure no longer makes sense. The more immediate problem is closer to home.

First, he needs to get House Speaker Rusty Bowers to agree to assign the measure to a committee rather than quashing it stillborn. The Mesa Republican said Tuesday he has not yet reviewed the measure and has made no decision.

And even if Bowers sends the bill to a committee, then there’s getting whoever chairs that panel – a Republican – to give it a hearing.

Then there’s lining up the votes.

Campbell said he’s convinced he has Democrat support. But that still leaves him short in a House and Senate where Republicans hold the majority.

The task now, Campbell said, is is to convince fellow GOP lawmakers that it’s in their interest to support the plan.

“I told my caucus that we, as Republicans, need to be out front, be proactive, and let the Hispanic community know that we value them and we want them to become members of our party,” he said. “And I think it’s a winning argument.”

More to the point, Campbell said HCR 2048 makes practical sense.

“They’ve gone to school, we’ve educated them,” he said, noting that federal law requires states to provide a K-12 education to all residents regardless of legal status. “And we need to reap the benefits of their education.”

The future of DACA is in doubt.

President Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow him to discontinue it, based in part on his argument that if it could be established by executive order it can be similarly ended that way. A ruling on that bid is expected later this year.

But Campbell said the fact remains that the students are here and are likely not leaving, no matter what the high court decides.

“They’re going to be here and we’re not going to deport them,” Campbell said. “They’re good kids and they want to continue their education.”

In fact, Campbell structured HCR 2048 so it won’t matter if DACA goes away.

His measure spells out that the resident tuition would be available to anyone who was eligible for DACA on June 15, 2012, when it was established. That means having been younger than 31 on that date, came to the United States before turning 16, was not convicted of certain crimes and graduated from an Arizona high school.

DACA recipients actually were paying in-state tuition until 2018 when the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that, strictly speaking, they were “without lawful immigration status” despite the executive order.

After that ruling, the Board of Regents came up with a compromise of sorts: A special rate for Arizona high school grads who were not here legally: 150% of resident tuition.

Campbell, however, said that special rate really isn’t enough to help for students who graduated from Arizona high schools and, despite their legal status, otherwise meet the definition of Arizona residents.

The differences can be substantial.

For example, basic residential tuition for new students at the University of Arizona is $11,299 a year, not including various mandatory fees. The formula for DACA recipients – 150% of resident tuition – sets what they owe at $16,948.

Campbell acknowledged that’s still better than the $34,976 tuition for nonresident undergrads. But he sees no reason for even that 150% differential.

There are similar differences at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

There are limits to the scope of what Campbell wants to do. Most notably, the DACA students would remain ineligible for any other state-sponsored scholarship or assistance.

“If they get in-state tuition, they have to borrow it from the bank or their families or whatever,” he said.

Campbell said he doesn’t want this issue to get caught up in the ongoing debate about border security. On that issue, he said he sides with the Trump administration.

“We have to determine who comes into this country,” Campbell said.

“We can’t just let our borders be open,” he continued. “That’s not a racist position.”

But that, said Campbell, is separate from the question of DACA recipients.

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(4) comments

tomgarven

I sincerely wished our political leaders would get off their behinds and fix our immigration laws. A DACA individual is either entitled to the same benefits as a full time Arizona resident or they are NOT. Can we just STOP trying to circumvent our laws and follow how they are written. And if we don't like the way they are written and We-The-People decide they should be changed, then let's change them. It really is quite that simple. We either follow our laws or we just throw them out the window and become another failed state on this planet but this piecemeal state by state implementation of immigration policy is certainly not working. Immigration is the role of the Federal Government the last time I looked. It is not a STATES right. It is high time our members of Congress start doing their darn jobs.

And this is what I mean by doing their jobs. Just what is the technical DIFFERENCE between lets say a Hispanic DACA student and a Chinese, Denmark, German or any other student from a family's that moved here illegally and now have a son or daughter who wantS to attend school here? Well if you BELIEVE in the Rule of Law there should NOT be any difference but there seems to be. WHY is that?

I think it runs far deeper than just a cultural difference. When Congress writes legislation and the President approves it, it becomes law. In countries like the U.S. we expect We-The-People to follow the laws Congress writes and our President signs. Most laws are not written with a state police assigned to watch our activities. Only when we violate a law does legal enforcement usually take place.

So why the difference between a DACA student and any other student who is brought here under the same set of circumstances? In my opinion it has nothing to do with a specific culture but rather it is totally POLITICALLY motivated. Someone seems to want to change the law without ACTUALLY changing the law to benefit a certain class of people namely DACA individuals.

But to me that is not only DISCRIMINATING against other cultures it is also an affront to at least the MEANING of our immigration laws. We already give special privileges to DACA recipients who live in our country. They get to live here without the fear of deportation unless they break the law. I wonder, are we giving that same privilege to others including reduces in state tuition to our colleges?

Pretty soon there will be no enforcement of any laws dealing with DACA individuals or any other immigration law BECAUSE our member of Congress have failed to fix our broken immigration system. To me it is just WRONG to provide special privileges to one class of individuals while ignoring another class. That is the worst kind of discrimination since it involves giving people money to discriminate. We are basically saying to DACA students, go to school and we will reduce your tuition costs.

So why not just give everyone a free education? First of all the first 12 years are free. The next 4 years cost you money. I wished everyone who believes free education would be nice would go look at the tax rates in those countries. Just go look a Denmark and several others. Are you willing to pay 40-60% in taxes while Amazon can earn $11 billion and not pay a dime in taxes. Our Tax Code is also a financial mess but no one seems willing to fix it. What ever happened to a flat rate tax plan? Anyway I digress. But what would happen to tuition rates if the government suddenly said they would pay 90% of tuition costs or up to some number like $30,000 per year? Would colleges be tempted to suddenly raise their rates? What would prevent them from doing that? And who dear tell would set the rate each college could charge? Who is going to determine what each college could charge and what would happen if they didn't? And certainly Yale, Harvard and Princeton would demand more money then ASU for the same course work. Is that fair?

Do you actually believe our politicians are capable of such management skills?

simon1dog

Hopefully they're paying something? No college tuition should be free. On the other hand, colleges are bringing in athletes from other countries and giving them a free ride for playing. That's not right either.

JVW

Man I don't know. We should Pay for everyones College and give them a trophy yearly for their participation. We are a rich nation we should invite all the worlds children to participate

simon1dog

Makes good sense.

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