When Attorney General Mark Herring refused to enforce the marriage amendment in Virginia, Delegate Bob Marshall filed a complaint with the Bar Association. Mark Herring has yet to respond to that complaint.
Now, faced with another instance of Mark Herring’s refusal to defend the laws of the Commonwealth, Delegate Marshall is undecided as to how he will proceed, but he has asked The Bull Elephant to post the following statement:
Czar Herring Issues Edict Allowing In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring claims in a “Dear Friend” letter to Virginia’s Colleges and Universities that persons who are in Virginia illegally must be treated as legal Virginia residents for the purpose of receiving in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.
As a result of this opinion issued by AG Herring, college age students who are not legal residents of Virginia will now compete with legal residents for coveted spots at Virginia Colleges and Universities and be eligible for reduced tuition rates and other forms of student financial aid, all subsidized by Virginia taxpayers. This is not fair to the legal resident citizens of Virginia.
While we should all have sympathy for children who are here through no fault of their own, brought to our country illegally by their parents, we have a system of laws in Virginia that must be respected. An Attorney General cannot unilaterally change Virginia law. Only the General Assembly may do that. Five members of the General Assembly introduced bills in 2014 and three in 2013 to make in-state tuition rates apply to illegal immigrants. None passed.
It is unclear what makes Mark Herring think he can pass a law with a “Dear Friend” letter. This is a dangerous usurpation of powers the people of Virginia gave only to the General Assembly and does not bode well for other assaults on Virginia taxpayers.
Lest there be any question about the legal status of these students the below is a direct quote from the Q&A on the Homeland Security website:
Q6: If my case is deferred, am I in lawful status for the period of deferral?
A6: No. Although action on your case has been deferred and you do not accrue unlawful presence (for admissibility purposes) during the period of deferred action, deferred action does not confer any lawful status.
We do not now grant in-state tuition rates to American citizens who are residents of Kentucky or any other state. Is that unjust, cruel or condemning these students to a life of limited opportunities? No. They are eligible to attend our fine state colleges but must pay the same tuition as American citizens from other states or citizens of other countries. Right now students from other countries who are here legally with valid student visas are not eligible to receive in-state tuition so why are we allowing illegal immigrants to obtain this benefit?
In fact, because of federal law 8 USC 1623, signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton, the effects of Mr. Herring’s policy would require Virginia taxpayers to subsidize all students at Virginia Universities regardless of their state of residence if we admitted the students favored by Mr. Herring. This would produce a huge budget increase to be borne by taxpayers. Either that or tuition rates would have be increased for students who are legal residents of Virginia.
Mr. Herring was elected to defend the laws and Constitution of Virginia. So far in his tenure Mr. Herring has seen fit to attack the Constitution of Virginia within two weeks of his taking an oath to defend it (same-sex marriage), and now he thinks his personal opinion is enough to amend state law. Mark Herring was not vested with powers to override and replace Virginia’s Constitution, the authority of the General Assembly or the Governor of Virginia.