The American Civil Liberties Union has stepped in to sue on behalf of three illegal immigrants who accuse three Missouri colleges of charging them tuition rates that are just too high.
The trio are in America because of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows them extended stays and shelter from deportation. And the schools they’re targeting?
The University of Missouri, St. Louis Community College and the Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.
“It is shameful to treat DACA students like outcasts, when they have lived, worked and gone to schools in this country since they were children,” said Tony Rothert, the legal director of the ACLU in Missouri, in a statement reported by Breitbart.
The suit comes on the heels of an appropriations bill for education signed by Gov. Jay Nixon that states in its introductory section: “No funds shall be expended at public institutions of higher education that offer a tuition rate to any student with an unlawful immigration status in the United States that is less than the tuition rate charged to international students, and further provided that no scholarship funds shall be expended on behalf of students with an unlawful immigration status in the United States.”
The ACLU says the terms of the bill’s preamble are both unfair and non-binding, yet the schools are going forward with its tenets in much the same way they would for legislatively approved law.
“It is a well-established rule of statutory interpretation that preambles to statutes do not create substantive law,” the lawsuit from the ACLU states, Breitbart reported. “When statutes are ambiguous, preambles can be used to interpret statutory enactments but, on their own, preambles are not binding statuory authority.”
The ACLU also said the Missouri colleges ought to welcome the three illegal immigrants because they’re hard-working and entitled to the higher education experience.
“Our Missouri public institutions of higher learning exist to open the doors of opportunity to hard-working students striving to get ahead. Now, there are extreme financial burdens being put on the backs of students already struggling to achieve their goals of higher education,” said Jeffrey Mittman, the group’s executive director, Breitbart reported. “To punish students who had no say in how they arrived in this country is not only mean-spirited, it is against the law.”