Neb. judge tosses illegal immigrant tuition suit

A Nebraska judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit challenging a state law that allows some illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition.

The lawsuit filed in January on behalf of six Nebraska residents claimed their taxes were being used to support the state's immigration-tuition law in violation of federal law. The lawsuit named the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and other state college boards as defendants and asked the judge to prevent schools officials from following the law.

Jefferson County District Judge Paul Korslund said in his ruling that the Nebraska residents who filed the suit should have first gone to the federal government to ask it to challenge the law before such a case could be heard in the state courts.

The residents' attorney Kris Kobach called the dismissal "a bump in the road." He said he hasn't yet decided how to proceed, but the case is far from over.

The state law says students whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally may pay in-state tuition fees, as long as they graduated from Nebraska high schools, lived in the state for at least three years and are pursuing or promise to pursue legal status.

In-state tuition can be significantly cheaper than fees for out-of-state residents. For example, undergraduate tuition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is about $6,000 per year for in-state students and $17,650 for those from out of state.

The Nebraska law was passed in 2005 over Gov. Dave Heineman's veto.