A protest in downtown Atlanta on November 10, 2010, attempted to highlight the struggle of illegal immigrants’ attempts to get a college education. Protesters walked up and down Washington street holding signs and delivered a letter of complaint to the board of regents who were meeting at the time. Several protesters, including Rev. Markel Hutchins, ended up in jail for obstructing traffic at the intersection of Washington and Trinity streets in an act of “civil disobedience”.
The reason for this and other similar protests is the recent decision made by the GA Board of Regents that will limit the ability of illegal immigrants to attend public GA universities. It has been decided that if a student who is a U.S. Citizen has been turned away from a public college due to lack of space, then that college should no no longer admit illegal immigrants as the U.S. citizen has a right to that spot. This new rule goes into effect in Fall of 2011 and affects the University if Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia state, Medical College of Georgia, and State University. There are plans to remove illegal immigrants from all state colleges being introduced by Republican State Lawmakers that will eliminate access to all Georgia public colleges.
This debate of illegal immigration and college students began last spring when Kennesaw State University college student, Jessica Colotl, was arrested on campus for a traffic violation. It was discovered that she was an illegal immigrant and that she was paying the in-state tuition reserved for U.S. citizens from Georgia. While Georgia law currently allows for illegal immigrants to attend state colleges, it has mandated that they pay higher out of state rates.
Protesters call this ban discriminatory, and one protester (who as interviewed on WSBTV news) stated that students would be singled out due to skin color. Perhaps they feel that all Hispanic students will be unfairly questioned and that black students with (non American) accents will also be forced to prove residency and citizenship. Unless GA takes the same stance that Arizona did last year, this is probably a bit of a stretch. Others say that the ban is unnecessary as the number of illegal immigrants in colleges in minimal, and that policing them will not keep them out of the US, only out of GA public colleges. http://www.ajc.com/news/regents-ban-illegal-immigrants-680750.html