Local News

Community College Policy on Illegal Immigrants Decried

Posted November 28, 2007

— North Carolina community colleges must accept illegal immigrants as students if they meet admission guidelines, according to a new policy.

Previously, colleges had the option of rejecting illegal immigrants, even if they were at least 18 and had graduated from high school.

However, a lawyer for the North Carolina Community College System recently issued a memo saying that all 58 campuses needed to fall into line with a 1997 opinion by then-Attorney General Mike Easley.

Wake Technical Community College was among the campuses that previously required students to prove legal residency.

"We will abide by the rules of the State Board of Community Colleges," Wake Tech President Stephen Scott said.

More than half of the community colleges statewide already allowed undocumented immigrants to enroll, and state officials estimated that about 340 such students are attending class.

Students without documentation must pay out-of-state tuition – about $7,400 for a full class-load at Wake Tech – which officials said would likely discourage many of them from applying.

The higher fees also would generate a $2,000 profit per illegal immigrant student for the community colleges, officials said.

But politicians statewide ridiculed the new policy.

“This is a stupid policy," U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., of Charlotte, said in a statement. "Our community colleges are supposed to educate and train American citizens to enter the work force. But North Carolina wants to educate and train illegal aliens so they can directly compete against American citizens for the same jobs? That is just plain wrong. There is no common sense anymore."

Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, has been deeply involved in the immigration debate in Washington, D.C.

State Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, said he and other legislators would likely push for a change in state law if the policy isn't reversed before the next session of the General Assembly in May.

"The key word is 'illegal.' It's against the law, so you should reward someone for breaking the law? Absolutely not," Stevens said.

Officials with the Latino advocacy group El Pueblo said the new policy provides an opportunity to a younger generation that has much to contribute to U.S. society.

"They would like to have an opportunity to continue their education," said Marisol Jimenez-McGee, advocacy director for El Pueblo. "They came here when they were very young – brought here by the parents – and have since been growing up in North Carolina, alongside every other North Carolina student."

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  • OpinionOnEverything Nov 29, 10:43 a.m.

    The next time tuition goes up or new bonds are floated to expand campuses and high more teachers at NC's community colleges and public universities to meet rising demand, YOU NOW KNOW WHO TO BLAME !

  • OpinionOnEverything Nov 29, 10:39 a.m.

    The problem for some of us NC residents, and full citizens who are attending college later in life, is that these illegal immigrants are taking seats that should be available to us first. One of the drawbacks of low in-state and even out of state tuition in both community colleges and public universities in NC, is that some schools can't afford to expand their course offerings to meet rising demand. Since I take courses online, not only do I have to compete with full time campus students, but also rising high school seniors, and now illegal immigrants scooping up seats that should be available to me and others like me.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Nov 29, 10:26 a.m.

    Someone please enlighten me. How is it that an attorney general can issue an opinion, such as the one Easley gave in 1997? Don't judges usually issue opinions on such matters? Isn't that a judicial branch power, not an executive branch power? Just curious...

  • cwallick Nov 29, 10:23 a.m.

    THe point here is the word "illegal". In my opinion as SOON as a person is found to be illegal they should be handed over to the Immigration department and deported, end of story. if you wish to come into our country do so LEGALLY.

  • FairPlay Nov 29, 10:22 a.m.

    The El Pueblo lady said they need a fair chance but why should legal citizens have to compete for college seats. If they are given a seat the law should require they must pass a test and become a citizen before graduating! Once again we have to vote out MORON's who seem to care more about ILLEGAL people!!!

  • bnorris6 Nov 29, 10:19 a.m.

    I have no problem with people wanting to better their lives in relocating to an area or anything else, as long as they do it legally. Our system can not continue to support these individuals who come into our state, our country and are not helping to support it, but only taking from it. We do have limited resources and have to realize we can not help everyone. Illegals do not have rights in this country as far as I am concerned until they become legal cizitens and are paying their fair taxes that help support our system. If someone is a known illegal in this state/country the first course of action should deportation. We have to stop being so politically correct and start using good old common sense. Our system can not keep supporting indiviuals who are not contributing, plan and simple.

  • elcid89 Nov 29, 10:12 a.m.

    Looks like this will turn out to be a better wedge issue for the Pubs than even gay marriage was back in 2003.

  • mrr03 Nov 29, 10:07 a.m.

    To MuleMan..You are right. The Indians did a poor job on the immigration issue..They got tricked out by not so smart individuals...See the Native American took the immigrants at their word (BIG MISTAKE).and got the sucked up in the deal..it appears that this Country was founded on some deception and lots of lies..I don't think we have move much further in telling the truth to be such a "Christian Nation" I wonder what would JESUS do?

  • koolady Nov 29, 10:04 a.m.

    And just how are the illegals going to get jobs after graduation when they don't have valid SS number? Or is the government going to hand those out too. This is anarchy in it's finest hour.

  • pjtalking Nov 29, 10:03 a.m.

    Won't be long before we are going to have to pay their tuition along with everything else we pay for them..

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