State Representatives Matt Lynch (R-Bainbridge Township) and Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) filed legislation today that will reverse the recent decision by the Ohio Board of Regents to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in Ohio.

“The recent decision by the Board of Regents will cost Ohio taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and blatantly ignores a requirement in administrative code that defines a resident as someone who is qualified to vote in the state,” said Rep. Lynch. “Illegal immigrants in the so-called DACA program do not have lawful status and cannot vote, and therefore should not be granted in-state status.”

“It is unfortunate that we must take this step of filing legislation because of this egregious decision,” said Rep. Retherford. “The Board of Regents can still do the right thing and reverse the decision, but we will work quickly to move this bill through the legislative process in order to prevent this from continuing any longer.”

On June 15th, 2012, the White House issued a memorandum ordering U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to exercise prosecutorial discretion and defer action against certain individuals found to be in the country illegally. This action, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), did not grant lawful status to the individuals—it simply gave them legal presence in the country.

On July 29th 2013, the Ohio Board of Regents announced that DACA recipients would be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities. This decision came despite the fact that the Ohio Administrative Code defines a resident of Ohio, for purposes of receiving in-state tuition, as someone “who is qualified as a resident to vote in Ohio.” Because DACA recipients do not have lawful status and therefore cannot vote, the Board of Regents decision stands in violation of its own administrative rules and necessitates the legislation. Without legislative action, Ohio taxpaying citizens will be forced to subsidize students who are admittedly in the state illegally.

The legislation will soon receive a bill number and be assigned to a House committee.

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