Today in Latin America
Top Story — California’s state Supreme Court ruled Monday in a unanimous vote that undocumented immigrants who graduated from state high schools can continue to receive lower, in-state tuition at public universities and colleges.
The ruling is the first of its kind in the United States, which has recently seen a series of high-profile battles about state immigration policies including one over Arizona’s strict immigration law.
“Throughout the country, the California court decision will have reverberations,” said Daniel J. Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The court’s decision overturns a lower-court ruling that stated that the law favors undocumented immigrants over U.S. citizens who live in the state and pay a higher tuition.
California passed a law eight years ago that allowed students without legal residency to attend the University of California, California State University or community colleges on in-state tuition rates. Anti-immigration activists challenged the law and the measure has bounced through the state’s courts since.
The state’s Supreme Court said Monday that law does not conflict with a federal prohibition on education benefits for undocumented immigrants based on residency, because U.S. citizens from other states may receive the benefits as long as they attended high school in California.
“It cannot be the case that states may never give a benefit to unlawful aliens without giving the same benefit to all American citizens,” wrote Justice Ming W. Chin, one of the court’s more conservative justices, in the court’s opinion, according to The New York Times.
In California, Latinos make up over half of all students in public schools and strong support from Latinos helped the Democrats perform well in the state during this year’s midterm elections.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican navy rescued 10 migrants who were kidnapped by an armed gang in the northern state of Tamaulipas.
- A buildup of gas from a nearby swamp is being blamed for the explosion in the Mexican resort area of Playa del Carmen that killed five Canadian tourists and two Mexican workers.
- U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Tuesday afternoon with Democratic senators to discuss the possibility of passing comprehensive immigration reform during the lame duck session.
- The British navy is holding talks with Cuba on how to strengthen counternarcotics operations in the Caribbean.
- There have been violent protests in Haiti against U.N. peacekeepers, amid a continuing cholera epidemic that has killed more than 900 people.
- The Panamanian government plans to issue $500 million in yen-denominated debt on the Japanese market in January, Finance Ministry officials said Monday.
- The three Salvadoran members of the Central American Parliament slain nearly four years ago while traveling in Guatemala were carrying $5 million in cash, San Salvador daily El Mundo reported Monday.
- Drug traffickers and squatters have taken over the Laguna National Park in Guatemala.
- The Colombian military on Monday killed at least 13 FARC guerrillas in an airstrike in southern Colombia, officials said.
- Venezuela’s recession-racked economy will grow during the October to December period, the Central Bank president said Monday, which would mark the first rise in economic activity in seven quarters.
- South Korea Monday signed a free trade agreement with Peru, the latest in a series of such deals by Seoul as its trade pact with Washington remains stalled.
- The Paraguayan government suspended a research trip by Britain’s Museum of Natural History after indigenous rights activists warned that the presence of researchers in the remote Chaco region could adversely affect the Ayoreo tribe.
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Uruguayan President José Mujica on Monday to pledge his support for the country’s legal campaign against tobacco giant Phillip Morris International.
- Italian police discovered that a shipping container carrying farm equipment from Brazil was also carrying $340 million worth of cocaine.
- The Anglican church in Uruguay has voted to end its affiliation with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone because the province will not allow women to be ordained priests.
Image: Steve Rhodes @ Flickr.