The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal of a California Supreme Court Case, Robert Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, in which the California Supreme Court Justices unanimously upheld the law at issue and dismissed the case.

At issue is a California Law that gives illegal immigrants the same in-state college tuition rates as legal state residents.  The California Law, AB 540, allows in-state tuition to be given to any qualified student who has attended a high school in California for at least 3 years and has graduated. This has extended to include illegal immigrants who fulfill the high school requirement.

The group of out-of-state U.S. Citizens who brought the appeal pay the much higher out-of-state college tuition rates, compared to those illegal immigrants who pay the cheaper in-state tuition rates.  They argued California unlawfully discriminated against U.S. Citizens in favor of illegal immigrants and violated a 1996 Federal Law, which prohibits extending any higher education benefits to illegal immigrants based on residency unless U.S. Citizens were eligible for the same benefit.

The California Supreme Court held that the California Law does not violate the Federal Law because the tuition benefit turns on whether a student has attended a California high school and graduated, and not on a student’s residency or immigration status.

The USSC justices refused to hear this appeal with no comment. This leaves in place laws in 11 other states that permit illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition.

Sevanna Hartonians, Summer Intern (Loyola Law School, J.D. Candidate, 2013)