People who want to take adult education classes will have to provide documents to prove they are in this country legally, state schools chief Tom Horne said Friday.
Horne said his decision follows a ruling earlier in the day from Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard saying it’s up to Horne, as state superintendent of public instruction, to decide how to comply with Proposition 300.
That measure, approved by voters in November, makes adult education classes offlimits to illegal immigrants.
Other provisions deny state-subsidized child care to those not here legally and spell out that they must pay the higher out-of-state tuition charged by state universities and community colleges.
But the initiative never spelled out exactly how that was to be accomplished, leading Horne to seek Goddard’s legal help.
Goddard said the U.S. Department of Justice actually allows several methods to verify the immigration status of applicants for federal public benefits. One extreme way would be to provide documentary evidence.
But Goddard said it’s also permissible to accept a written declaration, under penalty of perjury, from the applicant that he or she is in this country legally.
And there even are situations when a sworn statement from a third party testifying to the personal knowledge that the applicant is a legal resident would be sufficient.
But Goddard did not tell Horne which to use.
Instead he said various factors must be taken into account, ranging from the nature of the benefits to how fast the benefits must be provided.
Horne declined to accept sworn statements, deciding instead to follow policies already adopted by the state Board of Regents in determining who is eligible to pay the lower in-state tuition.
Students who have not filled out the federal financial aid form, with its own verification process, must submit one of a list of documents.
These range from a valid Arizona driver’s license issued after 1996 — when the state began requiring proof of legal residency — to a legible photocopy of a birth certificate or federal documents showing legal presence in the country.