Additional Veterans and Universities Added to Legal Challengae of Exclusion of Military Veterans From State Education Program

October 18, 2007

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), expanded its lawsuit challenging the exclusion of certain military veterans from the Texas Hazlewood Act, which provides a waiver of tuition and fees at Texas public colleges and universities. MALDEF represents veterans who have been denied the waiver and attended the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, North Harris College, as well veterans seeking to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio and West Texas A&M University. In the expanded lawsuit, MALDEF represents six veterans and the American GI Forum of Texas.

Although each plaintiff honorably completed his military service and is otherwise qualified, the State and its institutions have denied the veterans tuition waivers solely because they were not U.S. citizens when they first entered the service—even those veterans who have since become U.S. citizens. All the plaintiff veterans joined the military while they were legal permanent resident immigrants of the United States.

“It is shocking that veterans who served our country in times of war are excluded from this educational program across our State, from smaller community colleges to larger universities,” stated David Hinojosa, MALDEF Staff Attorney and lead counsel in this case. “Equally shocking is that the State and its institutions have not reversed course, even after the filing of this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit maintains that denying veterans who entered the military as legal permanent residents violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and other federal laws.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund