MAY 16, 2008
As states across the nation consider legislation to give illegal immigrants enticing tuition breaks at public colleges, one state has become the first to ban illegal immigrants from all its campuses.
The North Carolina community college system, which serves nearly 1 million students, announced a statewide policy this week barring undocumented students entirely from seeking degrees at any of its 58 schools. A handful of public institutions forbid illegal immigrants from enrolling, but this marks the first statewide policy blocking illegal aliens seeking a taxpayer financed college education.
The order came from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper who says federal law bans illegal immigrants from getting state benefits, including a higher education. Cooper ordered the state’s public colleges to immediately stop enrolling undocumented students into degree programs.
Outraged Latino advocates were quick to claim racism and discrimination but supporters of the new measure pointed out that it doesn’t make sense for illegal immigrants to be trained at taxpayer-supported U.S. colleges if they can’t even be legally employed here.
Federal law requires public elementary and secondary schools to enroll children regardless of immigration status but it prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining tuition breaks that are not available to all United States citizens. Regardless, a handful of states—Texas, California, Utah, Maryland and New York—have passed legislation to grant illegal aliens the perk. Last year lawmakers in 22 additional states considered laws concerning the discounted tuition for illegal aliens.
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