California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that allows illegal immigrant students to hold elected positions on California college boards as long as they qualify for in-state tuition.
The bill, AB1887, was signed on Aug 24 and permits students, who are illegally residing in the United States, to “serve on any board or commission […] that relate to public elementary and secondary education and that includes members who are pupils or minors,” provided they are eligible for in-state tuition or are otherwise exempt from paying non-resident tuition.
In California, students qualify for in-state tuition, also known as resident tuition, provided they have resided in the state for over a year prior to admission. Non-California resident students, including illegal immigrants, may be eligible for an exemption if they meet certain requirements, such as attending a California high school or community college for a minimum of three years, according to California Education Code 68130.
“To allow students who are currently ineligible, but would be made eligible by this act in time for appointment, and students who do not have lawful immigration status or qualify as being exempt from paying nonresident tuition to proceed in the appointment process, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately,” the legislation, which was deemed an “urgency statute,” states.
The bill amended a law which previously restricted positions of civil office to adult California residents, including illegal immigrants. The revisions that have taken effect also allow California college students who are under the age of 18 to hold civil office within California public colleges.
Associated Student, Inc. (ASI), a student advocacy group that focuses on “high-quality service and representation” and inclusivity among the California student body, supported the bill.
“The student who was the voting student trustee last year was a DACA student,” ASI President Noel Mora, told The State Hornet. “He would have been the last undocumented and DACA student to be able to serve on the [California State University] board of trustees as a student.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Grace_Gotcha