The Montana Board of Regents says a voter-approved initiative requiring proof of citizenship to receive state services does not apply to the university system.
Associate higher education commissioner Kevin McRae said Wednesday the state constitution gives the board exclusive authority to manage and control the university system, including setting policies and regulations.
McRae says the initiative and a similar bill proposed by the 2011 Legislature are superseded by the board's constitutional authority.
He says universities already have a system of checks in place.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative in November. It requires proof of citizenship or legal residency for individuals seeking a license, state employment or benefits.
The Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance is leading a lawsuit challenging the new law's constitutionality. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Helena.