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A federal judge has ruled that Florida college students cannot be charged higher out-of-state tuition simply because their parents may be in the U.S. illegally.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of students who are U.S. citizens and Florida residents but whose parents cannot prove legal immigration status. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore says charging them non-resident tuition violates the Constitution.
Children of illegal immigrants have won similar battles in New Jersey, California and Colorado.
Attorneys estimate thousands of Florida students could be affected.
Florida education officials say lawyers are reviewing the ruling and that no decision has been made on whether to appeal. There are 28 public two-year colleges and 11 four-year universities in Florida.
The superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools issued a statement on the ruling.
"Every year Florida graduates thousands of students, many of whom face an uncertain future due to legal restrictions or insurmountable financial burdens because of their immigration status. Today’s ruling represents a return to reason and the opening of the door of opportunity for deserving students who want nothing more than to give back to the only community and nation that they have ever known,” Alberto M. Carvalho said.