SEPTEMBER 24, 2009
A year after North Carolina’s Attorney General ordered public community colleges to stop accepting illegal immigrants, the state board that governs the system has revised the admissions policy to allow them to enroll.
In issuing the directive last May, Attorney General Roy Cooper pointed out that federal law bans illegal immigrants from getting state benefits, including a higher education. For years the North Carolina Community College System, which serves nearly 1 million students, openly admitted illegal aliens to all of its 58 campuses.
The Attorney General’s order, the nation’s first statewide policy blocking illegal aliens seeking a taxpayer financed college education, outraged Latino rights advocates who were quick to cry racism and discrimination. Supporters pointed out that it didn’t make sense for illegal immigrants to be trained at taxpayer-supported colleges if they can’t even be legally employed in the U.S.
This week, the state board that governs North Carolina’s public college system reversed the ban to allow illegal immigrants to once again enroll in schools throughout the state. About half of the 21-member board is appointed by the governor, a few are appointed by state legislators and the rest includes North Carolina’s lieutenant governor and treasurer.
Proudly announcing the vote that reversed the ban, the board’s chairwoman said that students who are striving for a better future will have access to a “seamless educational pathway” from kindergarten through twelfth grade and beyond. The president of the community college system added that the new policy maintains “all-important hope” for students who were brought to the U.S. as minors and keeps the path to a better life for the illegal immigrants “clearly in view.”
The board did set some conditions for admitting illegal aliens, however. Among them are that they must graduate from a U.S. high school and that they don’t displace a state resident or legal U.S. resident from a class or program.
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