Texas – Last week, U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan, a Trump appointee, ruled that the University of North Texas can’t charge out-of-state students higher tuition than undocumented Texans who qualify for lower in-state tuition under a 2001 Texas law. University of Texas lawyers appealed the federal judge’s decision over the weekend. This legal challenge could provide a pretext for conservative state lawmakers who have long fought to eliminate in-state tuition for undocumented students and undermine a significant victory for undocumented students in the state.
This ruling comes weeks after a victory in New Mexico passing a state law offering tuition-free college to all state residents, including undocumented students. The law allocated almost 1 percent of the state’s budget toward covering tuition and fees at public colleges and universities, community colleges and tribal colleges.
Juan José Martinez-Guevara, Texas Advocacy Coordinator of United We Dream, said:
“The latest decision by Judge Jordan is intended to drive a wedge between out-of-state students and undocumented students and is nothing more than a backdoor effort to ban access to in-state tuition for thousands of Texan students.
In 2001, immigrant youth organizers fought for and won in-state tuition benefits for undocumented students in Texas. Because of our organizing efforts, thousands of undocumented students had greater access to higher education and since then, we have worked tirelessly to protect this right against constant Republican-led attacks in the Texas Legislature.
Everyone deserves access to a good education, regardless of immigration status. Rather than pit students against each other for access to education, the Texas Legislature should heed to calls of student organizers demanding tuition-free college for all state residents, regardless of immigration status, as was recently done in New Mexico.”