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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2006
    Santa Clarita Ca

    Law prompts modest number of benefit denials

    AP Centerpiece: Law prompts modest number of benefit denials

    PHOENIX -- Twelve percent of applicants for publicly funded adult education classes in Arizona were denied admission into basic English, reading and other courses because they couldn't prove they were in the country legally, according to a report on a new state law targeting illegal immigrants.

    The law, approved overwhelmingly by voters in November, bars illegal immigrants from state-funded adult education and family literacy classes, child care subsidies and cheaper in-state tuition at public colleges. It also requires officials to produce reports documenting the number of denials.

    The first batch of reports, obtained by The Associated Press, reveal a modest number of denials from several agencies and paint a picture of some officials struggling to carry out the new rules in the first six months the law was in effect.

    The author of the law requiring the checks said he was skeptical of the agencies' commitment to enforcement.

    "The numbers are low," said state Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration. "So do I think there is some effort (to enforce the law)? Yeah. Do I think it's as vigilant as it ought to be? I don't know."

    Pearce said he intends to request an audit to make sure government agencies are fully enforcing the restrictions.

    Lydia Guzman, chairwoman of the Coalition for Latino Political Action, said the numbers were low because the law has driven some immigrant students who can't afford out-of-state tuition away from college or prompted them to sit out a semester while seeking other ways to pay for school.

    "If you know you can't buy a car, why would you go to the bank?" Guzman asked.

    Supporters said the restrictions were needed to reduce the costs of illegal immigration and discourage illegal border-crossers from setting up lives in Arizona. An estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants live in the state.

    Opponents said the law punishes immigrants who are trying to better themselves and was particularly unfair to students whose parents sneaked them into the country when they were young.

    The government agency that reported the most denials was the state Department of Education, which runs adult education and family literacy classes.

    According to the reports:

    _ 1,400, or 12 percent, of the nearly 12,000 adult education applicants were denied benefits because they couldn't prove their legal presence in the country.

    _ 13 percent of the 226 families applying for family literacy courses _ aimed at teaching parents without high school degrees and their kids _ were found ineligible because the parents weren't in the country legally.

    _ 86 of the more than 13,700 applicants for a program that picks up some day care costs for poor working families were denied because the parents weren't in the country legally.

    "We expected the numbers to be low because undocumented people don't qualify for child care assistance and were not even before (the law took effect)," Liz Barker Alvarez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Economic Security, which runs the day care subsidy program, said in an interview.

    _ At community colleges, where a majority of the state's college students attend school, 316 of the more than 40,000 students who applied for tuition and fee waivers, grants and other state-funded financial assistance were denied the benefits because they weren't in the country legally.

    Community colleges also found that 1,402 students weren't entitled to in-state tuition because they weren't lawfully in the country. More than 122,000 people were classified as in-state students.

    Some community colleges said in the reports that shortly after the law took effect it wasn't clear whether an applicant could sign a document under oath certifying their eligibility or if documents proving it were required.

    The colleges eventually used the latter standard. Earlier this month, Gov. Janet Napolitano signed into law a bill requiring proof of legal presence in the country for public benefit applicants.

    Like several other officials, Thomas Jordan, the outgoing president of Coconino Community College, declined to comment on Pearce's disappointment at the low numbers, but said in an interview that a lot of hard work went into complying with the law.

    Jordan said it cost an estimated $190,000 for his college to carry out the new rules.

    "The end result for Coconino Community College is we had four students who were affected," Jordan said.

    Some community colleges, though not required by law to do so, provided the costs of their efforts. Seven community college districts spent a combined $387,000 to carry out the requirements of the law, which carried no funding for the new duties.

    Arizona's three public universities didn't explicitly provide the number of denials they issued and instead reported on continuing efforts to verify whether students were lawfully in the country. University officials said in interviews that they believe they will have a more complete picture of the number of denials at year's end.

    Arizona State University and the University of Arizona reported that a combined 1,484 students haven't yet had their immigration status verified.

    A combined 117 students at the schools have indicated that they were unverifiable due to an inability to provide documents.

    At Northern Arizona University, officials haven't yet verified the immigration status of 24 of the more than 1,900 new students registered during the spring semester.

    If the students don't provide documents showing their legal presence in the country, the students will be charged out-of-state tuition and be ineligible for state-provided financial assistance, the universities said.

    Paul Kohn, assistant vice president for admissions and financial aid at the University of Arizona, said the school has made many efforts to inform students about the need to verify their immigration status.

    Those who haven't yet been checked will likely have their status verified in the coming week when they get their tuition bills, Kohn said.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member redbadger's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    The United States Of Invasion
    Lydia Guzman, chairwoman of the Coalition for Latino Political Action, said the numbers were low because the law has driven some immigrant students who can't afford out-of-state tuition away from college or prompted them to sit out a semester while seeking other ways to pay for school.

    Maybe they should go to their home country and pay their own way thru school instead of stealing the education from AMERICAN CITIZENS
    Never look at another flag. Remember, that behind Government, there is your country, and that you belong to her as you do belong to your own mother. Stand by her as you would stand by your own mother

  3. #3
    Senior Member mapwife's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    I've been waiting forever for some news organization to actually report on any examples of whether or not this law as well as the other AZ propositions has been enforced.

    What took so long. I still doubt it's accuracy anyway.

    I also don't believe that it cost them $190,000 to do this screening of applicants either.

    I didn't expect the figure of those turned away to be only 13 percent. There appears to be no follow-up of turning their information over to ICE either.
    Illegal aliens remain exempt from American laws, while they DEMAND American rights...

  4. #4
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    I think it is all a crock of lies, or else alot of students were afraid to sign up for college knowing it would do no good., I do not believe the cost either!

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