Malkin falsely claims DREAM Act gives unauthorized immigrants a “special” tuition preference

It's tough not to sympathize with students who were brought to the states as children by parents without legal status - young people who want to get a college education and start their careers, but are forced to live in the shadows in constant fear of being deported to a foreign country. But Michelle Malkin will do her best, even if it means misleading Fox News viewers.

On Fox & Friends this morning, Malkin claimed that the DREAM Act “give[s] illegal aliens a leg up over every other law abiding citizen or naturalized American, anyone else who is following the law - a special discount for in-state tuition.”

In a blog post yesterday, Malkin similarly claimed that the measure would “give special in-state college tuition preference to illegal aliens.”

Giving someone a “special” preference means providing them a benefit that is denied others with similar circumstances. Is that what the DREAM Act does? No.

The bill provides certain students and armed service members a path to citizenship if they were brought to the U.S. as children. The bill also repeals Section 505 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, passed during a period of particularly high anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. The Congressional Research Service explained in 2007:

Section 505 of IIRIRA places restrictions on state provision of educational benefits to unauthorized aliens. It directs that an unauthorized alien

shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.

CRS further noted:

Some interested parties have argued that Congress exceeded its authority in §505 by legislating on how states can dispense state benefits.

Although §505 does not refer explicitly to the granting of 'in-state' residency status for tuition purposes and some question whether it even covers in-state tuition, the debate surrounding §505 has focused on the provision of in-state tuition rates to unauthorized aliens.

So the DREAM Act would let states, not the federal government, decide whether to allow unauthorized immigrants residing within its borders to qualify for in-state tuition like all the other residents. It does not grant a “special discount” for unauthorized immigrants. It removes the special penalty against them, at least at the federal level.

From the September 16 edition of Fox & Friends: