Posted Apr 30, 2014 01:31 pm CDT
Citing a duty to comply with federal rules and the U.S. Constitution, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has announced that some students living in the state without legal permission will qualify for in-state college tuition without a change in the law.
Herring acted after the state legislature failed to approve bill that would have allowed in-state tuition for people brought to the country as minors and granted temporary resident status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Herring’s decision has the same outcome, the Washington Post reports.
Herring said the immigrant students have legal domicile in the state, qualifying them for in-state tuition under existing law. “Even apart from being the right thing to do, it is what the law requires,” he wrote in a letter to education officials.
But Herring’s action, coming after he opted not to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage, drew criticism from some Republicans.
Gregory Habeeb, a Republican member of the state’s House of Delegates, raised his objection in a tweet. “Our esteemed AG once again making up the law,” he wrote.
Nineteen other states have allowed some form of in-state tuition for students living in the U.S. without legal permission, the Post says. At the University of Virginia, tuition and fees are about $13,000 for state residents and about $42,000 for others.