Local News

Community colleges board OKs illegal immigrant enrollment

Posted September 18, 2009

— The North Carolina Board of Community Colleges voted Friday to allow illegal immigrants to enroll at the two-year colleges. The board's committee voted the same way Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton was the only board member to vote no on Friday.

"These are extremely difficult economic times that require tough choices," Dalton said. "People are losing their jobs. Unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression. These are the times when North Carolinians are turning to their community colleges for workforce retraining. Yet, in order to balance the budget, we have already had to raise tuition, cut programs, and reduce access. Now is not the time to increase the demands on our already overburdened community college system."

Under the new policy, students who aren't in the country legally but who graduated from a U.S. high school would have to pay out-of-state rates of about $7,000 a year. Also, lawful U.S. residents would have priority to crowded classrooms.

"It is a policy that is the right thing to do because it maintains that all-important hope for students who were brought to our country as minors and who are graduates of our high schools," Scott Ralls, president of the Community College System, said in a statement. "It keeps the path to a better life clearly in view.”

System officials said the existing ban on illegal immigrants would remain in place for six to 12 months until the administrative rules to carry out the new policy can be put in place.

The country's third-largest community college system has changed its illegal immigrant admission policy four times since 2000. The latest look came as laid-off workers fill classrooms.

"Once the administrative rules process is completed, our community colleges will be able to cease the back-and-forth of the last eight years, and these students, who are striving for a better future, will have access to a seamless educational pathway from K-12 and beyond,” Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, chairwoman of the Board of Community Colleges, said in a statement.

Latino advocacy groups hailed the proposal, saying it would continue North Carolina's tradition of higher education support for state residents. Many groups protested the move, however, saying the state shouldn't provide benefits to illegal immigrants.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said in an interview this week with WRAL News that she doesn't believe people who are in the U.S. illegally should be in community college classrooms.

"In all honesty and with due respect to the Board of Community Colleges, it's hard for me to understand why we would give an education to those who can't work legally in the country," Perdue said. "Either way, it's a hard choice. Kids need an education, but if they can't work, why do it?"

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  • edgar709 Sep 23, 2009

    Ah yes, the power of education. So many comments against it. Seems that what really is scaring you all is having to deal with an EDUCATED illegal immigrant.

  • MSN93 Sep 22, 2009

    "Dont waste your time writting those letters, these people dont care what you guys think. They already voted for it and it will never be changed back, get over it already, Viva La Raza"-gandalla

    I think what angers me the most is the absolute arrogance of people like gandalla who for some unknown reason feel that ILLEGAL immigrants and their children are ENTITLED to full support from US taxpayers with no requirement to pay into the system themselves. In fact, they DEMAND that we support THEM, speak THEIR language, accomodate their every whim. I am baffled by this attitude. I have no problem with legal immigrants, our country was built on them, but the USA is doing next to nothing to make sure that people enter legally. In fact, there is no incentive at all for them to do so. We will soon be over-run and bankrupt at the rate we are going.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ----gandalla-exactly WHY do you think WE owe the illegal population anything?

  • MSN93 Sep 22, 2009

    "------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------

    "These are extremely difficult economic times that require tough choices," Dalton said

    ==================

    So they are BREAKING THE LAW to raise funds...hmmm, WHY NOT JUST SELL CRACK IN THE VENDING MACHINES THEN?

    Or, OPEN A BROTHEL on campus? (I hear ACORN will help you with that)

    Oh, I got it...ORGANIZE ON CAMPUS GAMBLING PARTIES, charge ADMISSION and a CUT OF THE WINNINGS?

    All activities JUST AS ILLEGAL...thought by some to be VICTIMLESS and VERY LUCRATIVE!!!!"

    In his defense, Lt. Gov. Dalton was the only board member to vote against the measure.

  • dws Sep 22, 2009

    "I wonder if the geniuses who approved this ever stopped to consider where or how illegals would get $7000??? dws

    You must not know how much these people make."
    gandalla

    how much they make is immaterial, HOW do they make it?

  • affirmativediversity Sep 22, 2009

    I wonder if the geniuses who approved this ever stopped to consider where or how illegals would get $7000??? per dws

    ---------------------------

    You don't actually believe these geniuses are actually going to charge CRIMINAL MIGRANTS "out of state tuition", do you?

    Please...now that they've "altered" registration requirements so that CRIMINAL MIGRANTS can "register and attend" does not in anyway "alter" the "proof of state residence" requirements.

    In other words...all a CRIMINAL MIGRANT will have to do is show a lease, or light bill or [wink, wink] pay stub to fulfill the "residency" requirement.

    You watch...go to one of our Community College NEXT SEMESTER...ask how many "out of state" students they have and then compare it to the number of CRIMINAL MIGRANTS attending their classes.

    These people (Board of Colleges) are snake oil salesmen who have been getting away with this kind of legalize shell game for years..and not just when it comes to CRIMINAL MIGRANTS!

  • gandalla Sep 22, 2009

    I wonder if the geniuses who approved this ever stopped to consider where or how illegals would get $7000???
    dws

    You must not know how much these people make.

  • dws Sep 22, 2009

    I wonder if the geniuses who approved this ever stopped to consider where or how illegals would get $7000???

  • tsquaring Sep 22, 2009

    Can we get the boards members names and addresses posted somewhere?

  • Tarheelfan13 Sep 22, 2009

    gandalla, no illegal should ever get seating precedence over a legal citizen. I don't care if the illegal is a straight A student and the legal is an average student. The legal by default does not have to compete with the illegal in seating precedence because frankly the illegal is in someone elses house or country to use an expression. That would be like an illegal coming into my house uninvited and telling me that I had to sleep on the couch and he gets to sleep in my bed. Same logic with the classroom precedence.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 22, 2009

    Mako II,

    Legislative action by DEFAULT is not "democracy".

    The laws on the books NOW, today, this very moment make it a FEDERAL CRIME to ENTER UNDOCUMENTED and WORK OR UTILIZE SERVICES using FRAUDULENT MEANS or a PRETENSE OF PROPER DOCUMENTATION...

    the very FACT that a "governing body" in this case the BOARD OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES thinks they can PICK AND CHOOSE which LAWS ON THE BOOKS they will abide by AND by doing so SET ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE ABOVE THE LAW the rest of us have to abide by is

    OUTRAGIOUS.

    If Obama decides to try for amnesty he'll only be continuing what Bush started...BUT for now IT IS ILLEGAL and I, for one, WANT THE LAW RESPECTED.

    If the law gets changed and CRIMINAL MIGRANTS are given STATUS you and people like you will fully expect me to RESPECT THAT LAW!

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