Dreamers rally at AZ Supreme Court, could lose in-state college tuition benefit

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So-called "Dreamers" rallied outside the Arizona Supreme Court because they want in-state tuition for certain students in the country illegally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) So-called "Dreamers" rallied outside the Arizona Supreme Court because they want in-state tuition for certain students in the country illegally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
According to Brnovich, when Arizona voters passed Prop 300 in 2006, it required everyone have legal immigration status before receiving public benefits, which includes in-state tuition rates. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) According to Brnovich, when Arizona voters passed Prop 300 in 2006, it required everyone have legal immigration status before receiving public benefits, which includes in-state tuition rates. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Close to a million young adults brought to this country as children have been granted temporary legal status by the federal government, and "Dreamers" claim that qualifies them for in-state tuition rates. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Close to a million young adults brought to this country as children have been granted temporary legal status by the federal government, and "Dreamers" claim that qualifies them for in-state tuition rates. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Immigrant students with deferred deportation status hold a banner in support asking the Supreme Court to rule in favor of continuing their access to in-state tuition costs. (Source: AP Photo/Anita Snow) Immigrant students with deferred deportation status hold a banner in support asking the Supreme Court to rule in favor of continuing their access to in-state tuition costs. (Source: AP Photo/Anita Snow)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -

Arizona "Dreamers" took a stand on the steps of the State Supreme Court Monday, fighting for their future and a chance to continue their education.

"We are not asking for any favors and we are not asking for special treatment," said DACA recipient Belen Sisa. "We are just asking to be treated the same way that you treat any other student that grew up in the state of Arizona."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona politics]

Arizona's highest court heard oral arguments Monday on whether DACA recipients should be allowed to continue paying in-state college tuition rates.

Inside the courthouse, attorney Mary O'Grady, representing immigrant students, said young people covered by the DACA program have federal government permission to be in the U.S. and should be eligible for lower in-state tuition at Arizona state colleges and universities.

O'Grady noted that DACA recipients are allowed to have work permits and driver's licenses.

Arizona Assistant Attorney General Rusty D. Crandell said the state does not consider the students to be lawfully present in Arizona when it comes to college tuition.

[READ MORE: Arizona high court to consider in-state tuition for DREAMers]

In-state ASU students currently pay $10,640 a year.

Out-of-state students pay $26,470 a year.

Close to a million young adults brought to this country as children have been granted temporary legal status by the federal government, and "Dreamers" claim that qualifies them for in-state tuition rates.

[RELATED: Judge: Dreamers can get in-state tuition in Arizona (May 5, 2015)]

However, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said it's not that simple.

According to Brnovich, when Arizona voters passed Prop 300 in 2006, it required everyone have legal immigration status before receiving public benefits, which includes in-state tuition rates.

[RELATED: AZ state attorneys take DACA in-state tuition battle to court (Jan. 10, 2017)]

"The reality is that here in Arizona, we have an initiative by more than 1 million Arizona voters that said, if you do not have legal status, you don't get in-state tuition," Brnovich said.

Korina Iribe is with the group Undocumented Students for Education.

[READ MORE: Arizona court overturns in-state tuition for some immigrants]

"I have friends who spoke here today who are going to become doctors and help save lives," said Iribe. "Having an education is not just for the benefit of individuals, it benefits the entire society we live in."

The Arizona Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling before state colleges set their tuition rates for the fall semester.

[RELATED: AZ Board of Regents votes to give in-state tuition to DACA students]

The hearing came a day after a fresh blast of tweets by President Donald Trump on border and immigration issues, including a declaration that a deal to help "Dreamer" immigrants remain in the country is "dead because the Democrats didn't care or act."

Former President Barack Obama created the program to provide temporary protection and work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally after being brought here as children. The program was later closed to new entrants and Trump ended it last year.

Trump gave Congress six months to pass legislation extending it, but a deal has not been reached.

The appellate court said the program did not confer legal status and each state can decide on optional benefits for DACA recipients.

Arizona law bars public benefits such as in-state tuition for students without legal status.

"We don't want special favors, we want equity" with other students with Arizona residency, Belen Sisa, a 24-year-old senior at ASU, told the morning rally outside court. Her parents brought her to the U.S. from Argentina when she was 6.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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