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The debate over college admissions for undocumented students continues in North Carolina even after clarification from the U.S. Customs and Enforcement that federal law did not prohibit undocumented immigrants from seeking higher education.
And yet, today the North Carolina Community College system has decided to bar illegal immigrant students until further clarification:
"Until we receive further clarification, we will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs."
What further clarification is needed?
Either the Attorney General's office and President of the NC Community College system cannot understand the legal directive or it refuses to acknowledge it. And in both cases, the 112 out of 297,000 students in the North Carolina community college system suffer, their education in-limbo. Among these students are passionate, hard-working cultural and lingustic Americans who have the potential to be our future leaders, serve our country and improve the quality of life for all Americans.
The insignificant numbers of undocumented students are not burdening the system and moreover, since they have to pay 'out of state' tuition, it more than covers the cost of their enrollment. There can be no justification for denying higher education to students–regardless of immigration status–if they merit those spots under status quo federal and state law.
There is still hope as Governor Easley has challenged the directive from the Attorney General and the decision of the junior colleges.
"It is odd the Community Colleges would ask for clarification on the law and then change the policy before they get the clarification."
Lets hope the state government and educators stop playing politics with the lives of our students and our future. We can either elect to create a permanent underclass of angry and frustrated undocumented American youth being punished for crimes they did not commit or we can help produce educated and productive members of our society. The choice should be simple.
Click here to request that our next President takes action on the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional residency to undocumented students so that they can pursue higher education in the United States.