Georgia and California take opposite poles in the debate over illegal immigrants and higher education

The Economist

IT BEGAN with a traffic violation. Last March Jessica Colotl, a 21-year-old political-science major at Kennesaw State University, was arrested for “impeding the flow of traffic”. Cobb County authorities, who participate in a federal immigration-law enforcement programme, found that Ms Colotl was in the country illegally. She had entered with her parents when she was 10. She graduated from high school with an A average, and wanted to become a lawyer. Instead she will probably be deported in the spring, after she graduates.
And if Tom Rice gets his way, there will be no more Jessica Colotls. In October Georgia’s Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s public universities, banned illegal immigrants from the state’s five most popular universities, and said that they cannot be admitted to the other 30 ahead of qualified legal residents, having found 501 undocumented students among the 310,000 enrolled in Georgia’s public universities. For Mr Rice, a Republican state representative, this was not enough; he pre-filed a bill with the state’s Assembly that would ban all illegals from public universities. If it passes when the legislature convenes in January (and it stands a good chance), Georgia will join South Carolina as the only states with such a ban.