Undocumented students rally for in-state tuition rates - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Undocumented students rally for in-state tuition rates

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ATLANTA -

Dozens of undocumented students and their supporters marched and rallied at the Georgia state Capitol on Wednesday. They want the Georgia Board of Regents to change its policy that prohibits them from attending certain schools and requires that they pay out of state tuition.

The group, calling themselves "the Dreamers," marched and rallied to demand the same in-state tuition rates Georgia taxpayers are entitled to.

"Many of them, they are paying taxes just as any other citizen. And you know, that's why we want undocumented students to be able to pay in-state tuition because now they have legal precedence in the United States," said Eduardo Samaniego.

These young people said the executive order President Barack Obama signed last year stopping their deportation if they meet certain criteria  gives them the same rights as any other Georgia student.

"I graduated high school in May 2011, the same year that the Georgia Board of Regents put into effect a ban barring the undocumented students from attending the top five public universities in Georgia," said Chris Garcia.

Thirty-nine of these undocumented students filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Board of Regents because they can't attend universities like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Charles Kuck is their attorney.

"They are Georgians in heart and soul. Give them the right to pursue their dreams, and an education in a great university system here in Georgia," Kuck said.

Uche Onungwa and his sister say it's not just a Latino issue. They came to the U.S. legally from Nigeria, and say what these students are asking for benefits them too.

"Currently, I'm paying out of state tuition, which is like $5,000, while I'm still living at home. I'm not even living in the dorms," said Onungwa.

These students say they should be able to pay less and be admitted to even more Georgia universities.

The Georgia Board of Regents declined to comment on the lawsuit filed against it because they haven't received it yet, and don't comment on pending litigation.

Regarding the so-called Dream Executive order the President signed, the Board says, "Our understanding of federal and state law is that the order does not change state law with regards to undocumented individuals, and so the board's policy will remain unchanged."

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