Judicial Watch Challenge in California

This week, Judicial Watch attorneys filed a new court challenge to the UC/CSU practice of charging resident tuition to the undocumented college students in the State who meet the durational requirements. I will post these materials to my website: www.law.uh.edu/ihelg and will also archive new materials, as reporters hear about this. Please send on any such materials as they come across your radar. Thanks,

Your Poster-in-Chief,

Michael A. Olivas

Earl De Vries v. Regents of the University of California (No. 555614): http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/de-vries-v-regents/  (pdf, attached)


Judicial Watch Files Taxpayer Lawsuit against University of California to End In-State Tuition, Grants for Illegal Aliens AUGUST 28, 2014

Suit charges that both federal and state law prohibit UC system from using tax dollars to provide discounted in-state tuition benefits and financial aid to illegal aliens

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on August 26 2014, it filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court for the State of California, Los Angeles County, seeking an end to an estimated annual $19.6 million in non-resident tuition waivers currently being given to illegal alien students by the University of California (UC) Regents (Earl De Vries v. Regents of the University of California (No. 555614)).

The suit also seeks an end to approximately $4 million annually being awarded to illegal aliens in taxpayer-funded grants and scholarships.  The taxpayer lawsuit was filed on behalf of California resident Earl De Vries.  Under California law, taxpayers have the right to sue government officials to prevent unlawful expenditures of taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed resources.

According to the lawsuit: “Under federal law, unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for State or local public benefit.” While federal law allows certain exemptions, according to U.S. Code, it does so “only through the enactment of a State law … which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.” [8 U.S.C. § 1621(d)]   While the State of California passed such a law granting exemptions to California State University schools and California Community Colleges, it did not do so in the case of the University of California, making tuition waivers and grants awarded by the UC Board of Regents unlawful, according to the Judicial Watch lawsuit.

Under the California Constitution, the UC Board of Regents is “entirely independent” of the state legislature in policy matters, so there is no lawful way for the California legislature to allow or require the University of California to provide the public benefits for illegal aliens.  And so, under the federal law, the UC Board of Regents is prohibited from providing any in-state tuition and public benefits for illegal aliens.

The lawsuit alleges these that these illicit public benefits for illegal aliens cost California taxpayers almost $25 million annually. According to the suit:

The UC Office of the President estimates that, as of November 2013, 900 students enrolled at UC schools were unlawfully present aliens, approximately 95 percent of whom were undergraduates.  Assuming that all of these students qualified for a tuition exemption, the value of this benefit would be approximately $19.6 million (900 students x 95% x $22,878 per student = $19,560,690).

UC has estimated that some 800 undergraduates will qualify for taxpayer-funded Cal Grants worth about $7 million and that approximately 300 of these undergraduates are unlawfully present aliens.  UC also has estimated that some 440 unlawfully present aliens exempted from paying nonresident supplemental tuition at UC schools will qualify for approximately $4.3 million in UC grants and scholarships.

The taxpayer lawsuit seeks a judgment declaring the expenditures unlawful and an injunction, “permanently prohibiting Defendant from expending or causing the expenditure of taxpayer funds or taxpayer-financed resources” for either tuition waivers or financial aid benefits to illegal aliens. The suit argues that if the court does not intervene, “The Board of Regents … will continue to expend substantial taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed resources exempting unlawfully present aliens from paying nonresident supplemental tuition at UC schools and allowing unlawfully present aliens attending UC schools to apply for and participate in state-administered financial aid programs.”

“Taxpaying California citizens deserve to have their hard-earned money spent lawfully,” said De Vries, “What the state is doing is not only illegal, it’s unfair to taxpayers.”

“Our client Earl De Vries, like all taxpayers in California have a right to expect that the University of California follow the law and cease using tax dollars to provide illicit subsidies for illegal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Public officials on the UC Board of Regents need to put immigration politics aside and obey both federal law and the California Constitution.”


Hiroshi Motomura also pointed out the similarities to the Sergio Garcia Bar admission matter, which he and I wrote about at the time:

This theory would, I suppose, be used to challenge the application of Martinez to the UC system (and the Rhode Island situation), and thereby resurrect the relevance of op-ed that we wrote and fortunately put on the record through Lexis/Nexis, on the impermissibility of the federal government telling the states how its laws to help undocumented students must be adopted.


A lot of work to do, and many miles to travel before we sleep,

Michael A. Olivas