Local News

AG Researching Laws on Admitting Illegal Immigrants to Colleges

Posted December 13, 2007
Updated December 14, 2007

— Last month, North Carolina’s community college system changed its policy to require its 58 campuses to enroll illegal immigrants if they met the schools' standards for other students.

This week, Gov. Mike Easley said North Carolina can't turn its back on anyone who wants an education, including illegal immigrants. But some are asking what the point is since it’s against the law to hire a well-educated illegal worker.

Attorney General Roy Cooper spoke about the issue and his involvement in it Thursday.

“The community colleges asked us, ‘What is the status of the law right now regarding illegal immigrants (being) given admission to North Carolina community colleges?’” Cooper said. “Our lawyers are researching the federal laws, the state laws, all of the statutes. We will be rendering an opinion to them very shortly.”

At Lee's Air Conditioning and Custom Sheet Metal, many employees come from the community college system. But there is a new crop of graduates that Human Resources Director Miles Standish said he won't bring on board.

“I will not hire people who come from the community college system that have been admitted [but are undocumented] and are admitted illegal aliens,” Standish said.

All companies must have new hires fill out the federal I-9 form. It verifies a person can legally work in the United States. Standish said that if he knowingly hired undocumented workers, he'd break federal law. He said he wonders what good it does to give immigrants a North Carolina education if they cannot enter the work force.

“It looks like they're presenting a product to me and it's nice in the window, but I can't buy it,” Standish said.

Latino advocates said employers can help such employees get work visas. They argue an education is about more than just a job.

“I think their status could change. The laws might change, and there are lots of immigration lawyers to help,” said Nadeen Bir, with El Centro Hispano. “It'll benefit everyone – the employers, community members – everyone in North Carolina, if the kids are in school and not on the streets.”

Standish said he sees North Carolina's education pass as a direct contradiction to federal law – a law he's not willing to break.

The UNC system recently announced it is considering allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Evil one Dec 15, 2007

    Prerequisites should be 1)Alcoholics Anonymous 2)Drivers Ed 3)Etiquette in a foreign land

  • whatelseisnew Dec 15, 2007

    This is part of the larger problem we have in this country in how screwed up our legal system has become. The obvious and only sane answer to this is not only should the college not admit these students, it should in fact be required to contact ICE. If they know these applicants are illegal, by not contacting ICE they are aiding and abetting criminal behavior. We need to elect far fewer lawyers to public office and elect some people with common sense, ethics, and honesty.

  • treasure Dec 15, 2007

    "WWW.SPP.gov says it all. It is Security and Prosperity for some, but probably not many of the GOLO family."

    Yes,there is a much bigger plan being played out in the US of A.

  • treasure Dec 15, 2007

    "'We the people' are speaking."

    Yes,but I'm not so sure anyone is REALLY listening.

  • GotSig Dec 15, 2007

    After NAFTA passed into law, I wondered why "the government" did nothing effective to stop the flood coming in from south of the border. Then I noticed the dramatic change in who was building our public roads, erecting our public and private buildings and planting our lawns. Used to be a lot of black guys turning those shovels, right? Not anymore. Heck, look at the manpower actually building the much publicized Dempsey E. Benton Water Treatment Plant in Garner for the City of Raleigh. Sure, it was bidded out to a private contractor and subs, so the City is distanced. Anyone can figure out why the bid is such a bargain for the taxpayers. It is called "stewardship of the Public monies" And you thought there was no benefit to you, taxpayer, from illegal immigration. It is all part of the big plan. WWW.SPP.gov says it all. It is Security and Prosperity for some, but probably not many of the GOLO family.

  • NCMOMof3 Dec 15, 2007

    I know the lady that stands in a harbor and welcomes the world's peoples is still the same lady that welcomed many of our ancestors. I don't think any of us are disputing the fact that anyone from any country should be welcome in America, just as our ancestors were. However, our ancestors arrived and did things lawfully. The became, for the most part, law abiding and productive citizens. They did not come here and expect the people already here to learn their language, to provide them with free education, free housing, free medical care, free food, etc. They came here expecting to work, expecting to have to learn the ways of this country, and expecting to have to conform to a new set of laws, at least to some degree. The difference now is the ones coming expect just the opposite and we are giving it to them. Come to this country, do it the way this country says do it or leave.

  • auklet8718 Dec 14, 2007

    The related story racked up 400 comments in a couple of days. This one is almost 150 in a day. I'm sure most of us posting here also posted on the other one. I do hope the people in the capital building are paying notice here.

    "We the people" are speaking.

  • whatusay Dec 14, 2007

    With people like Easley and Cooper in public office making decisions...this country is doomed. They are completely oblivious of the illegal crisis facing this state and country and the effects it has on taxpayers, our health system, and our welfare system. God bless America and God help the ignorant.

  • dlentz2 Dec 14, 2007

    Make up your minds. You want illegals to learn English but you don't want them in our schools to learn English. They will have to pay their tuitions like everyone else. I know some get a free ride but all you have to do is go to Wal-Mart during the day and see hundreds of American's getting a free ride. To me Free is Free. I don't like having to pay for anyone who is just as able to work as I am.

  • ncguy71 Dec 14, 2007

    Bill Graham for NC Governor in 2008


    Read what he he has to say about illegal immigration. We need more people like him in NC State Government!