Dual enrollment program and Georgia’s driver’s licenses – reform needed

Opinion

The below essay was written by D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society

Dual enrollment program and Georgia’s driver’s licenses – reform
needed

Are illegal aliens are getting no-cost taxpayer-funded college seats?

D.A. King

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.
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.

D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society.

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