RALEIGH --North Carolina's community college system has ordered the state's 58 campuses to admit illegal immigrants, overturning a policy of letting the heavily enrolled schools set their own rules for handling undocumented applicants.
David Sullivan, the system's top lawyer, dispatched a memo this month telling the community colleges that state regulations require the schools to admit illegal immigrants who meet the schools' basic requirements of being either a high school graduate or an adult in need of skills training.
"That's just wrong," said state Sen. Richard Stevens, a Raleigh Republican and co-chair of the higher education committee. "The law ought to be changed."
Rep. Winkie Wilkins, a Person County Democrat who chairs the House committee on community colleges, said he was "blindsided" by the news.
The state's community colleges focus on training and retraining the work force, usually through skills and trade education. Melinda Wiggins is executive director of Student Action With Farm Workers, which helps children of migrant farm workers get into high school and college. She said barring illegal immigrants from community colleges penalizes youths who were brought to the United States as children.
"North Carolina is their home. It's where they've been raised and lived," Wiggins said.
"By denying them an education, we're really creating an underclass of folks here in the state who cannot contribute to society."
N.C. public schools must accept children of illegal immigrants under federal regulations. The University of North Carolina system admits undocumented applicants, but a bill to provide in-state tuition to some was quickly shot down in 2005.Source: Charlotte Observer
Hat Tip: NC Representative Charles C. Thomas
Update: I've just been told that Matt Mittan is covering this issue on his Radio Show, Take A Stand. This page has his podcasts, which, I note is not up to date...so I'll work on an alternate source of audio if the podcasts aren't up by tomorrow morning. The same person said FOX is covering the story. Too bad I don't have a TV so I could grab the clip!