Florida State Colleges Charging Higher Tuition Fees for Children of Illegal Immigrants

In late 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Miami by Florida residents who were being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. Their claim is that Florida’s regulations violate their constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Amendment XIV.

The out-of-state tuition is said to be three to four times the cost of in state tuition making it well beyond the reach of many Florida residents whose parents are illegal immigrants.  Following the class-action suit, a bill was proposed that would have given Florida residents regardless of their parents’ immigration status, in-state tution for higher education contingent on them having lived in Florida for at least two years.

The story doesn’t end well for the affected students. In January 2012, the bill died in the Senate’s higher education committee. One concern raised by many Senators was that the bill would open up a loophole for students with parents in other States who could otherwise afford the out-of-state tuition costs.… <Read More>

Can a Court Sentence a Juvenile to Life in Prison without Chance of Parole?

A recent New York Times Article, titled “Juvenile Killers in Jail for Life Seek a Reprieve,” describes a recent Supreme Court decision to deny a now 25-year-old man parole for a murder committed when he was 14.    

The article describes the circumstances surrounding the crimes as a scuffle between step-brothers that escalated from goofing around with a blowgun to an angry threat with a bow and arrow to the fatal thrust of a hunting knife.

The young man is now in a maximum-security prison, serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

In recent years, the Supreme Court has been methodically diminishing severe sentences. For example, it has banned the death penalty for juvenile offenders, the mentally disabled and those convicted of crimes other than murder. Also, as recent as 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juvenile offenders to life without the possibility of parole violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but did not rule on whether or not this applies to cases involving a murder.

Interestingly, a dissenting judge argued that sentencing juveniles to life in prison is essentially allowing them to die there, which cannot be distinguished from the death penalty which as applied to juveniles has been declared unconstitutional.

For the full article click here<Read More>

Will the U.S. Supreme Court History Repeat Itself Again?

A look back into the history of this country illustrates that the fight over whether same-sex marriage should be allowed is yet another hotly debated issue that has divided this country and challenged our long-standing notions of morality and tradition.  Less than a century ago the thought of women having a right to vote was deemed unconscionable.  Today women cannot even fathom the fact that they could have ever been denied such a fundamental right as citizens.   About fifty years ago African-Americans fought to have the same rights as white Americans to vote, to frequent public establishments, and to utilize public transportation; whether black children should be allowed to attend the same schools as white children was hotly disputed; blacks were denied admittance into graduate schools, and interracial marriages were prohibited.   Today our country is being led by a black (or to be more accurate – interracial) president who attended an Ivy League law school.  The contested list of constitutional rights is long.   And if an old adage that “history tends to repeat itself” is true, then it is just a matter of time before the right to a same-sex marriage becomes the supreme law of the land, and protests and debates are featured on the History channel.  Until then, we just have to wait and watch as this fight plays out in the courts, in the Congress, in the upcoming presidential elections, and in our streets.… <Read More>

Coming to America! A Learning Experience in Alternative U.S. History

Immigration into the United States is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and stressful undertakings that many people and families can undergo.   In order to become a US citizen, immigrants must pass a citizenship test, among other things, but recently one author questioned the validity of the questions that were being asked.

What are we teaching our newest citizens in the 100 questions they are asked to learn to become a US citizen?  Is this just a memorization exercise?

Maybe INS should take a page from the SAT, and require an essay!… <Read More>

Social Engineering through Taxes

http://www.intelligentspeculator.net/uncategorized/despite-common-knowledge-raising-taxes-on-the-rich-is-not-always-the-answer/Is the final frontier for Family Law…..Tax Law?  While Family lawyers often spending time worrying about their client’s individual rights, has our society been changed at a macro level, by taxes?

Social engineering through taxes has recently come back into the spotlight because of the Republicans push to make abortions less attainable.  This tactic however, is in no way new.

In the United States we have tax incentives that favor marriage, buying homes, having up to two children, and having a money in certain types of accounts.   Social Engineering through taxes has been happening to us for decades, but is it an ethical pursuit?

Should Family Lawyers pay attention to society as a whole rather than just on their clients?… <Read More>