Hard-Working Immigrant Students Retain Path to Achieving the "Texas Dream"

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Because of the intervention of University Leadership Initiative ("ULI"), hard-working undocumented immigrant students no longer face a legal claim from the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas (IRCOT) to be stripped of their right to pay instate tuition and take part in the "Texas Dream" of achieving a quality higher education.

On April 21, 2011, MALDEF filed a motion on behalf of University Leadership Initiative, defendant-intervenor in the case of IRCOT v. Texas, to dismiss IRCOT's claim. In response, IRCOT dropped its claim seeking to strike down the instate tuition law. Known as Texas House Bill ("HB 1403"), and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in 2001, the instate tuition law provides educational access to all qualified Texas residents, regardless of immigration status.

"We are very satisfied to have preserved instate tuition laws for undocumented immigrant students," stated David Hinojosa, MALDEF's Southwest Regional Counsel. "These are hardworking, deserving students who have succeeded in school, and they should have every opportunity to achieve their full academic potential."

To qualify for HB 1403, a student must: 1) graduate from a Texas high school or receive a GED after attending for three consecutive years; 2) live with a parent, legal guardian or conservator during that time; 3) register as an entering student in a higher education institution; and 4) sign an affidavit stating that they will apply for permanent residency at the earliest opportunity they are eligible to do so.

Texas was the first of eleven states to pass instate tuition laws. HB 1403 has proven to be a tremendous success in helping undocumented immigrant students become productive members of society.

"We're ecstatic that the attack against instate tuition has been dropped," stated Julieta Garibay, Board President of University Leadership Initiative. "We will continue our mission to encourage all Texans to pursue higher education and will remain vigilant against anything that threatens the future of our education."

Michael Bongiorno, David F. Olsky and Somil Trivedi, of the law firm of WilmerHale served as pro-bono co-counsel with MALDEF in the case.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund