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Posted Aug 17, 2012, 3:33 pm
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and Phoenix's Greg Stanton both called Friday for illegal immigrants granted deferred action status to be able to attend Arizona schools by paying in-state tuition rates.
"We can no longer ignore or attempt to displace the young and the promising in our cities. Arizona benefits as a whole if we can find a common-sense solution for DREAMers in legal limbo through no fault of their own," Rothschild said in a news release from the Phoenix mayor's office.
"When it comes to the future of our cities, these young people hold it in their hands. Without in-state tuition, many won't go to college, find a job and then contribute to society. We need to invest in our own future, and education is key. Now is not the time to constrain our community colleges," Rothschild said.
"I support in-state tuition at our Maricopa Community Colleges for students who have successfully applied for deferred action," said Phoenix Mayor Stanton, a Democrat like the Tucson mayor.
"It is in economic imperative for our city. Our economic future is dependent on increasing the college attainment rate for our young people. We must invest in our city's future, and when it comes to education, we need all hands on deck, including community colleges," he said.
Wednesday, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order barring those given deferred action status from receiving state benefits, including drivers licenses. The order could cover tuition at state universities and community colleges.
Democrats assailed the order as political grandstanding. Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers called Brewer, "nothing more than George Wallace in a skirt."
Some 80,000 Arizona residents could be eligible for the program, which began accepting applications Wednesday.
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The program gives eligible illegal immigrants a two-year, renewable deferral from deportation. Applicants can also receive work authorization under the program, which implements many of the provisions of the DREAM Act, which has been blocked in Congress.
Beginning Wednesday, individuals who think they qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – people under 31 who were brought here illegally as children, among other requirements – can download the application from the USCIS website.
The application costs $465, which is used to fund the program and covers the cost of processing the requests and the background checks, he said. It also goes toward paying for the work permit authorization.
About 1.76 million people nationwide could be eligible for the program.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.