One week ago the community college system was sent a letter from the North Carolina Office of the Attorney General that recommended that they reverse its policy of allowing illegal and undocumented immigrants to be admitted into degree programs.
The North Carolina Community College System has just announced that they will no longer admit illegal immigrants into their schools. The decision will not affect the 112 illegal immigrants who have already enrolled.
According to the North Carolina Community College System statement in regards to this issue, in December of 2007 they sent a letter to the Attorney General to seek clarification about a System Numbered Memo, dated November 7, 2007, that had been sent to all 58 community colleges mandating they admit illegal aliens at the out-of-state tuition rate.
That rate is calculated to equal 140% of what it costs the state to provide a full-time education to one student. The November directive was the result of the NCCCS interpretation of an earlier Attorney General advisory letter that said community colleges could not impose nonacademic criteria for admission, which supported the “open door” policy of the NCCCS.
In the May 6 letter, the Office of the Attorney General advised the NCCCS to return to the directive in System Numbered Memo 01-271, dated December 21, 2001, that prohibits undocumented students from taking curriculum degree classes.
The The North Carolina Community College System also met with officials from the Attorney General's Office to discuss the issue.
"We have accepted the Attorney General's offer to seek federal clarification of this issue, and they are pursing that information," Scott Ralls, president of the community college system, said in a news release. "Until we receive further clarification, we will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs."
The community college system opened the door to illegal immigrants in November when its general counsel, David Sullivan, issued an edict that the system's 58 schools allow illegal aliens to enroll at the out-of-state tuition rate. Sullivan has since moved to the general counsel's job at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
The information they refer to that is being pursued is the assertion from Governor Mike Easley (D) and ICE officials who have stated that the system in allowing illegal aliens into their degree programs did not break any federal laws.
Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) is commending the state Attorney General, Roy Cooper, and the NC Community College System for barring illegal aliens from colleges after a lengthy public debate.
According to William Gheen from ALIPAC, "This ruling by the NC Attorney General could have a far reaching national impact. Many states are allowing illegal aliens to attend their colleges at full price and a few are even forcing taxpayers to foot the bill with in-state tuition. Other states are going to notice NC's precedent and move to follow our lead."
Gheen continues, "We must turn off all incentives for illegal aliens and access to American colleges is clearly an incentive for illegal alien families to come here. There are plenty of colleges back in their home countries they can attend. American workers and American students need every seat in college today in America. Many of our states are facing huge budget deficits and need to keep the focus on American and legal immigrant students."
ALIPAC is credited for playing a key role in defeating in-state tuition for illegal aliens in NC in 2005.
In the memo that the President of the North Carolina Community College System, R. Scott Ralls, sent out to Community College Presidents, Community College VP/Deans of Instruction, Community College VP/Deans of Student Development, Community College VP/Deans of Continuing Education, Community College Admissions Officers and Community College Registrars, it says that local community colleges should follow the guidance provided in the December 21, 2001 Memorandum CC01-271.
They then provide the relevant quotes from the 2001 Memeorandum:
Federal Law, 8 USC Section 1621 makes most undocumented or illegal aliens ineligible for most state or local public benefits. Post secondary education is one of those benefits that undocumented or illegal aliens are not eligible to receive. Federal Law, 8 USC Section 1641 makes an exception for some illegal aliens who have been subjected to extreme cruelty or battered and who meet other conditions set forth in this section.
The memo goes on to give 3 specific exceptions to the rule.
In the North Carolina Community Colleges System statement, Ralls also says, "We asked the Attorney General’s Office for clarification of our present policy and will abide by their advice."
The North Carolina Office of the Attorney General has requested guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security about the legalities of admitting illegal aliens into college degree programs, but until further clarification is obtained, 58 North Carolina colleges will no longer be admitting any illegal aliens or people without proper documentation that proves that they are in this country legally.