Regents The Real Villains In The Jessica Colotl Story

By D.A. King, Insider Advantage Georgia a subscription Website, May 18, 2010

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This is not rocket science folks. This long time American will happily set up the system in about an hour if the BOR needs some assistance.

Let’s stop calling this mess the “Jessica Colotl story” and refer to it for what it is: The Board of Regents Taxpayer Deception Scandal.

(5/18/10) For the last four years this long-time American has been struggling to make all concerned actually read, understand and obey the 2006 Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act (GSICA) which, as I have written ad nausem, is essentially a Georgia law that says we must obey federal immigration, employment and public benefits laws. So now I have to say it: thank you, Jessica Colotl.

This young lady has done more to illustrate the near complete disregard for immigration law in Georgia than any citizen protest rally or a thousand commentary columns.

The law is not written in some secret code or with ambiguous language. And, unless we are prepared to admit that there are groups of people for whom the rule of law does not apply, it must be equally enforced.

The issue is not whether or not illegal aliens are illegally getting in-state tuition rates in our public universities. They are. The issue is that illegal aliens are not supposed to even be in our post secondary education system. Period. At any tuition rate.

Post secondary education is a public benefit and is reserved for eligible applicants only.

Federal law, 8 USC 1611 - "Aliens who are not qualified aliens ineligible for Federal public benefits”- clearly defines these public benefits.

Because it seems that many are either clueless about the law or intentionally trying subvert it and the intent, let’s do something quite drastic here.

Let’s actually read definitions in the law:

(c) “Federal public benefit” defined

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), for purposes of this chapter the term “Federal public benefit” means—

(A) any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States; and

(B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.

This should not require a law degree to understand. The Board of Regents receives federal funding.

There is more: Another pesky federal law, 8 USC 1621, defines state and local public benefits using identical language.

At the bottom of 1621, the feds allow individual states to undo the prohibition on providing public benefits to illegals by passing into law specific language allowing illegal aliens to access those benefits. Georgia has no such law.

The Board of Regents and all of the universities in the system administer both federal and state and local public benefits. Post secondary education is anything beyond K-12 education.

The Board of Regents is in violation of the above federal laws because it is admitting illegal aliens to the Georgia University System. A fact that J. Burns Newsome, Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia acknowledged to me in a Thursday telephone conversation. He told me the Board of Regents “may address the matter in June…”

On instate tuition, federal law, 8 USC 1623, - “Limitation on eligibility for preferential treatment of aliens not lawfully present on basis of residence for higher education benefits” - says that if illegals are allowed into the university system and given instate tuition rates, then all U.S. citizens – instate residents or not – must be given the same rate.

Now for the state law that seems to be so challenging to so many: OCGA 50-36-1 (passed as part of SB 529 in 2006): "Public benefit means a federal benefit as defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1611, a state or local benefit as defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1621, a benefit identified as a public benefit by the Attorney General of Georgia, or a public benefit which shall include the following:…” The code then goes on to list additional benefits added in 2009.

State law uses the federal definition and cites the federal law to regulate public benefits. Georgia State law does not give the Board of Regents a free hand in making its own policy.

It says that governing body may set forth policy that complies with the above federal laws.

As a compromise in the contentious and internationally reported 2006 committee process, the Georgia law says that the Board of Regents is not required to use the system set up in the state law for verifying the lawful presence in the United States of any applicant for public benefits. It does not say they are forbidden from doing so.

Under the same state law, applicants for other public benefits are required to swear on an affidavit that they are eligible using either citizenship or lawful alien status. The law then requires each agency administering benefits to verify the information provided by non-citizens using the federal Systematic Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database.

It is difficult to pick out the most galling and outrageous news quote from the many people who are either intentionally misrepresenting, or clueless, on the laws in place to protect taxpayer funded benefits from illegal aliens. But several from the Board of Regents Chancellor, Errol Davis, stick with me: “We follow the law," said Davis last week referring to the BOR admissions policy.

No, they do not.

Chancellor Erroll Davis also told reporters at a recent meeting that he opposes universal verification. As reported by Morris News: “with 300,000 students and $25 per verification, the $1.5 million cost could equal the salary and benefits of 20 professors when the system’s budget is already tight.”

Complete and utter, offensive nonsense.

As described above, the law does not require running every applicant through the SAVE system. Only those who indicate they are not citizens, a small percentage of the new applicants for admission each semester. The cost of verifying immigration status for non-citizens using SAVE is not $25.00 and it is not $50.00.

It is 50 cents per query. Half-a-dollar.

Hardly approaching anywhere near the ridiculous figure Davis is hopefully offering up. All that needs to be done to reserve public university classroom seats for eligible students is to put the existing state affidavit and verification system in place in our state universities, and verify the eligibility of each non-citizen, once, when they initially apply for admission.

This is not rocket science folks. This long time American will happily set up the system in about an hour if the BOR needs some assistance.

Let’s stop calling this mess the “Jessica Colotl story” and refer to it for what it is: The Board of Regents Taxpayer Deception Scandal.


D.A. King is a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration, an expert on the Georgia immigration law and president of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society, which is advocates for enforcement of American immigration laws. He lobbied in favor of the 2006 Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act.

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