If somebody has been living in the state of Georgia for over 5 years, are they considered a resident of the state? To be a senator, Georgia only requires a person to live in the state for 2 years. Hence, it would makes sense to consider a person (a person who simply wants to be recognized as a resident of the state) a resident of the state after they have lived in the state for over 5 years.
Until this past week, this was not the case for many Georgia college students who were protected from deportation by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or better known as The Dreamers. DACA was created to help young illegal immigrants in this nation. The illegal immigrants considered for this action are those who were brought here at a young age and have basically spent their entire lives here. The action protects these immigrants from deportation and gives them a work permit so they can work legally in this country. The immigrants accepted into this action also need to have a good standing by being enrolled in college, graduating high school, or being part of the United States military and have clean criminal record.
The DACA recipients who were enrolled into colleges and universities were faced with a huge hurdle to jump to get their education. Even though they had been considered eligible to receive DACA, the state of Georgia was still considering them as non-residents of this state. The reasoning of the Georgia Board of Regents was that these immigrants could not be considered residents of the state because they were not legal residents of the states from beginning. This led to DACA recipients being forced to pay out of-state tuition at the college or university they were attending. For example, Kennesaw State University charges in-state students $4,180 for tuition alone, while it charges out of-state students $14,756 for the same thing. This is simply unfair to those DACA recipients who lived in this state for longer than the year who needed to be considered for in-state tuition. They are paying $10,000 more for their education even though they meet the requirement needed.
Luckily, this past week a judge in Fulton County finally made a right to this wrong. The judge ruled in favor of the Dreamers who were suing the Georgia Board of Regents for charging them out of-state tuition. Thus, DACA recipients will finally be closer to having justice and will pay for school the amount they should have been paying from the beginning of the program.
A big thing that is being overlooked in all this is how that state of Georgia will benefit. With DACA recipients paying less money for their tuition, it will increases their chances of furthering their education which will help make Georgia’s work force more skilled. Also, many of these Dreamers attended public K-12 schools which means that Georgia has already invested a great amount of money into these immigrants. By making it easier for them to further their educations, it will increase the value of their investment. These immigrants will end up paying back the education investment by contributing in a more significant way to Georgia’s labor force.
The fight is not over for the DACA recipients. Unfortunately, DACA does not lead to some sort of permanent residency in this country. They have to keep reapplying to for it after 3 years. Furthermore, President-elect Trump has not giving a clear answer to what he is going to do with Dreamers which leaves an uncertain future for them. There is one thing that is clear though. The 730,000 DACA recipients, like many other illegal immigrants in this nation, are good people who are going to fight for their right to continue to live and contribute in the great United States of America.