De Vries v. Regents of UCAnnotate this Case
Federal law makes undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local public benefits, but allows a state to “affirmatively provide for such eligibility” through “the enactment of a State law.” 8. U.S.C. 1621(d). Plaintiff, a California taxpayer, filed suit against the Regents, alleging that none of its policies qualifies under section 1621(d) as a "State law" making undocumented immigrants eligible for postsecondary education benefits. The trial court sustained the Regents' demurrer, concluding that the Regents' policies satisfy section 1621(d). At issue in this case is whether three California legislative “enactments” affirmatively provide “eligibility” under federal law for postsecondary education benefits to qualified undocumented immigrants who attend the University of California, even though the statutes require only the California State University and California community colleges to provide such benefits. These laws include (1) Assembly Bill No. 540 (2001-2002 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 540), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition (Stats. 2001, ch. 814, 1-2); (2) Assembly Bill No. 131 (2011-2012 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 131), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student financial aid programs (Stats. 2011, ch. 604, 3); and (3) Senate Bill No. 1210 (2013-2014 Reg. Sess.) (S.B. 1210), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student loan benefits (Stats. 2014, ch. 754, 3). The court concluded that, even though the California Constitution may preclude the Legislature from actually conferring postsecondary education benefits on undocumented immigrants attending the University of California, the Legislature has made these students “eligible” for such benefits within the meaning of the federal statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.