Raleigh, N.C. — Local civil rights groups on Monday used the Christmas holiday as an opportunity to call for greater access to community college for illegal immigrants.
The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and immigrant rights advocates said students who are in the country illegally have a hard time paying for community college because they don't qualify for student loans or most scholarships.
They're also charged higher out-of-state tuition rates, even if they've lived and paid taxes in North Carolina all their lives.
NAACP President Rev. William Barber said the state should offer in-state tuition rates to those who want to go to college.
"In the midst of all the tinsel and the Christmas trees and the lights of Christmas, we should be reminded of a truth that Christmas teaches us," Barber said. "That is that we should not push people out. We should bring people in."
State leaders considered changing the tuition rules several years ago, but the proposal failed.
Opponents have said that seats in the community college system should be reserved for legal residents only.