Mass. Governor Tells Colleges to Offer In-State Tuition to Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Monday sent a letter to the state’s Board of Higher Education directing it to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal-immigrant students who obtain work permits through the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program, announced in June and opened in August, allows young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children to apply for two-year stays on deportation if they meet certain requirements. Republican lawmakers criticized Mr. Patrick’s decision, and a prominent Democrat in the State Senate also faulted the governor for imposing the policy unilaterally rather than seeking the legislature’s approval.

Correction (1/22/2013, 6:36 p.m.): This post originally misstated the nature of President Obama’s decision last year to defer efforts to deport students who are in the United States illegally. The action was technically a directive from the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, not an executive order by the president. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.

Governor Deval Patrick said Monday that allowing young illegal immigrants to pay the lower resident rate for tuition and fees at state colleges and universities if they obtain work permits was just one piece in the process of overhauling immigration policy.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform. We still need that,” Patrick told reporters at the State House on Monday.

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