The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a California state law that permitted illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Several other states, such as Nebraska, have such laws, so the Court’s decision has broader implications beyond the California case. I am glad that the law was upheld, not only because these decisions should be left up to the states themselves but also because the laws are a good idea. The immigrants in question are residing in the state, even if they would not otherwise have been considered legal state residents. They and their children are going to continue living in and contributing to the community, and it is better for them and for the community in general if they can more easily advance their education and develop successful careers. If a state finds that it is unable to offer such tuition rates, or that doing so is increasing the growth of an illegal immigration population it cannot afford to sustain, then it can always decide against such a program. Otherwise, I doubt that the states in question have found negative changes resulting from the law that would outweigh the economic and social benefits of increasing access to higher education.
[Above: The CPACS building and campanile on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus, from http://myweb.unomaha.edu/~rblair/%5D