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Community colleges to take in-state DACA tuition to Arizona high court

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PHOENIX — A community college district that serves the Phoenix area voted Tuesday to take the matter of in-state tuition for young immigrants with deferred action status to the Arizona Supreme Court.

The Maricopa Community Colleges District board voted 4-3 to challenge last week’s Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that removed the lower tuition costs for young immigrants granted deferred deportation status under a program started by former President Barack Obama.

“I move that the board approve the legal appeal to the Supreme Court in the matter of in-state tuition for DACA students,” board member Alfredo Gutierrez said prior to the vote.

There was no immediate timeline for the district’s challenge to be filed.

In a Facebook post, the district said last week’s ruling would affect about 2,000 students.

“We are a very unique small amount and they (the board) are willing to put that support in us and that belief,” student Allie Aguilar said. “That makes me feel so great. I can’t even explain how well it feels to have a board believe in you.”

Without the challenge, a 2006 voter-enacted law known as Proposition 300 would be in control. That law prohibits public benefits for anyone living in Arizona without legal immigration status.

Gutierrez said the district should expect pushback from state officials because of the board’s decision.

“It has not been without consequence that we defy the governor, the Legislature and the voters,” he said. “The consequence has been the cut of millions of dollars into this system.”

KTAR’s Tom Perumean and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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