Local Politics

Community colleges could lift ban on illegal immigrants

Posted August 14, 2008
Updated August 15, 2008

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— North Carolina community college officials could lift a ban on admitting illegal immigrants as soon as Friday.

The state Board of Community Colleges on Thursday learned about a recent Department of Homeland Security notice that said the federal government does not bar state community colleges from admitting illegal immigrants to degree programs.

In May, the community college system directed its 58 colleges to deny admission to illegal immigrants because officials were concerned that admitting them violated federal law.

The board will meet again Friday to discuss lifting the ban and will also be asked to approve a plan to hire a consultant to study admission practices at other institutions.

“They’re very thoughtful people. We have 21 members of the state Board of Community Colleges. Twenty voting members represent the entire state of North Carolina and they are taking this very seriously,” board spokesman Chancy Kapp said.

Community college system President Dr. Scott Ralls urged the board Thursday to consider a policy to support its open-door philosophy, while also addressing residents' concerns regarding admission.

"While many of these students may not have arrived in the United States legally, many of them came as minors," Ralls said. "And for what it's worth, I have difficulty with the notion of punishing minors for the actions of their parents."

But Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, an ex-officio member of the board, sent a letter urging the board to uphold the ban.

"I simply do not understand the policy rationale for moving from a position of banning admissions altogether to one of opening them up in a largely unrestricted fashion for a brief period while the board decides on what would be the best policy," Perdue stated in the letter.

Amy Auth, communication director for Republican gubernatorial candidate Mayor Pat McCrory said he is "absolutely opposed to allowing illegal immigrants into the community college system."

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Republican from Charlotte, is proposing a bill to withdraw federal funding if schools knowingly admit illegal immigrants.

“We just can’t wink at it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Illegal is illegal,” Myrick said.

The North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents supports a policy of the University of North Carolina system, which only admits undocumented immigrants who graduated from U.S. high schools.

In North Carolina, 800,000 students attend 58 community colleges. Of those, a fraction – 112 at last count – are illegal immigrants.

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  • dayum_yankee_99 Aug 15, 2008

    in this day and age, what's the point of being a LEGAL immigrant??

  • Tidbit Aug 15, 2008

    Smart Alec - you are correct. Someone who WANTS to be legal and do thing the right way, absolutely can apply for a temporary visa F-1 Visa.

    It is a choice.

  • Smart Alec Aug 15, 2008

    Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but if an illegal immigrant decides to attend college beit 2 or 4 years can't they just apply for an F-1 Visa or something similar, thus clearing up their immigration status? Of course they would then be limited to employment of no more than 20 hours a week. Once they graduate (assuming they ultimately go for a 4yr degree) they could then transition to an H1B visa and during the time of its validity apply for permanent residency. Seems to me that if they are required to take all of these steps then it would be a win, win. The immigrants who are striving to achieve higher education aren't the problem because to use those degrees in the US they will at some point have to move towards legal residency anyway. And please spare me the correction of alien over immigrant, thats just semantics.

  • Tidbit Aug 15, 2008

    know for a fact that El Pueblo and la Raza are behind all this. they have these programs to help illegal students to get GED's and college education. Paid by donations. I bet somebody from La Raza and El Pueblo are part of the board.
    ibbott41

    *snort* La Raza. The hispanic version of the KKK. And yet, they are applauded. Would you applaud the KKK? (I know I think they are an embarassement) If you wouldn't, why would you support La Raza.

    Look up the group "You Don't Speak for me" who are a group of Hispanics against La Raza and El Pueblo. They are LEGAL citizens who worked hard and came here the hard way - the LEGAL way and they are 100% against illegal immigration

  • Tolip Aug 15, 2008

    Looks like someone finally hear the AMERICAN Citizen's voice! By "upholding"the decision, they are "upholding" the LAW!! Ain't that something?

    Stay vigilant, they will try to probe from another direction!

  • ibbott41 Aug 15, 2008

    I know for a fact that El Pueblo and la Raza are behind all this. they have these programs to help illegal students to get GED's and college education. Paid by donations. I bet somebody from La Raza and El Pueblo are part of the board.

  • ncleaf65 Aug 15, 2008

    Dr. R. Scott Ralls
    Email: rallss@nccommunitycolleges.edu
    Phone: (919) 807-6951 FAX: (919) 807-7164

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Aug 15, 2008

    If you want to discuss the make up of Boards, look at the Employment Security Commission. Governor has overlooked business completely. More Union activist than I've ever seen on an appointed board. I'm changing my party......had enough

  • Ladybug008 Aug 15, 2008

    Listen to the cry of the citizens of this state. Illegal IS Illegal!!! There are & have been rules & regulations in place for years to become a legal resident of this country. What reason would you come to the US & not become a legal citizen???? Do NOT lift the ban!!!

  • denverbob234 Aug 15, 2008

    They decided to unhold the ban. Finally they are listening.....

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