Kris Kobach's one-man war against illegal immigration took another hit yesterday, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on a case that he was handling in California. The state has a law that gives discounted college tuition to kids who have spent three years of high school in the state and graduated. It's a pretty sweet deal.
But the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-illegal-immigration group, thought it was too sweet because the law doesn't take into account the legal status of students receiving the benefits. And they did what any group with two nickels to rub together, trying to kick illegal immigrants out of the country, would do: They hired Kobach.
Last year, Kobach struck out at the state Supreme Court, when the
justices upheld the law by breaking down the exact verbiage. The Los
Angeles Times reports that a 1986 federal law says states can't give
tuition deductions to an "alien who is not lawfully present in the
United States on the basis
of residence within a state." But the California Supreme Court found
that the law didn't hinge on living in the Golden State but on the
location of the high school that students attended. Fine print for the win!
At the time, Kobach was pretty peeved, calling it a "very weak opinion"
and promising to take it to the highest court in the land. But the
court said, "Nah, we're not interested." Kobach told The LA Times that
federal law, with its stricter language, "will become a dead letter in
any state where the legislature is willing
to play semantic games to defeat the objectives of Congress."
The paper says the University of California system has about 600
illegal-immigrant students getting discounted tuition. Additionally, the
Supreme Court's decision to pass would likely give some credibility to
similar laws in 11 other states, including Kansas.
But don't feel too bad for Kobach. He surely will find other causes to
take on. Alabama just passed a new super-strict
immigration bill. Maybe that will need some defending in court.