HB 444 needs work
*Updated: 2:12 PM Feb. 3, 2020
More attention should be paid to Georgia’s “dual enrollment” program, related legislation and the very real possibility that illegal aliens in high school are taking seats in the university system while avoiding the verification process for “lawful presence” through which the rest of the college applicants are supposed to be screened.
If we understand it correctly, high school students are taking state-funded college seats – with no cost to the student.
The SAVE program is the default federal tool in state law (OCGA 50-36-1) used to verify eligibility of foreign nationals for a host of Public Benefits. Post-secondary education is exempted from the verification mandate but USG implemented policy to verify “lawful presence” and the use of the SAVE program in 2010.
Covering legislation dealing with proposed changes to the system, in a recent “What to know about Georgia’s dual enrollment bill” the AJC reports that “supporters of the bill say the program’s costs have skyrocketed in recent years and changes are necessary to make it sustainable. About 52,000 students are currently enrolled in the program.”
Line 52 of the pending HB 444 defines an “eligible student” for dual enrollment but we don’t see any language that would exclude illegal aliens or that requires any verification process. *UPDATE: We don’t see any on the paper dual enrollment funding application either.
Before final action is taken on the bill, more questions should be asked.
Where in the law and the legislation does the dual enrollment system exclude illegal aliens from the very costly program? Where is language that requires USG to use their in-place verification system for dual enrollment students?
Maybe it is already policy, but putting a verification requirement into dual enrollment law should be considered the belt to go with any USG policy suspenders. Maybe the AJC will do an “everything you need to know” expansion piece on this.
If these students are indeed “undocumented” how can USG verify “lawful presence”?
USG provides answers on how not to verify “lawful presence”
USG (correctly) does not accept the Department of Driver’s Services ‘LIMITED TERM’ driver’s license as verification of lawful presence for purposes of admission and/or determining eligibility for instate tuition.
For the unaware, because the feds have issued work permits (EADs) and SSNs to them, Georgia issues the exact same ID and driving credentials to illegal aliens with deferred action on deportation (and several other “you can stay for awhile” categories of illegal aliens) that is issued to real immigrants (green card holders) and temporary visas holders who did obey federal immigration law. Repeat: the identical credential.
Because they are REAL ID Act compliant, these credentials are used to board airliners, purchase explosives and as admittance to federal buildings.
Several other states including Michigan, South Carolina and even California have systems in place that create a separate non-REAL ID Act compliant credential. The Republican-ruled Georgia state senate passed legislation in 2016 that mandated a new and additional, separate design. That bill never saw a hearing in the Republican House.
It should be noted that the REAL ID Act – Section 202, (2)(B) – dictates that deferred action on deportation is “evidence of legal status” – for purposes of driver’s licenses/ID issuance only. The REAL ID Act does not require states to issue credentials to anyone.
The below from page 17 of the University System of Georgia Manual for Determining Tuition Classification And Awarding Out-of-State Tuition Waivers.
“SYSTEMATIC ALIEN VERIFICATION FOR ENTITLEMENTS (SAVE) PROGRAM
In some cases, it will not be possible to verify the lawful presence of a non-citizen student using the typical options provided on the USG Verification of Lawful Presence Chart, such as verifying using a U.S. birth certificate, Georgia driver’s license (not limited term), U.S. citizenship paperwork, or based on the student’s confirmed eligibility for federal student aid. In those cases, it may be necessary to use a program provided by the Department of Homeland Security called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, or SAVE…” Bold emphasis mine.
USG is admitting that the ‘LIMITED TERM’ driver’s licenses issued by DDS are not reliable indicator of who is and who isn’t an illegal alien.
It’s time to reform the dual enrollment program and the system for issuing driving and ID credentials in Georgia.
**PUBLIC SERVICE INFO: CONTACT YOUR GEORGIA STATE REP HERE.
D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society.