This past Friday, North Carolina’s Attorney General reversed an earlier decision, stating that there was no state law barring undocumented students from attending community colleges in the state’s system.
The admission of students will be left to the board of the community college system to decide.
“We have a great belief in our foundation of open-door policies,” Scott Ralls, president of the Community College System said. “But we believe that this is an important decision that doesn’t need to be made overnight.”
An Op-Ed in NC’s News and Observer today spoke out in support of the AG’s decision.
At this point, contrary to what some public officeholders would have people believe, it’s simply unrealistic to think that 12-14 million immigrants thought to be in the country illegally could be deported en masse.
Facing that reality against political pressure is something that education officials ought to do, in the best interest of the state. Students who happen to be illegal immigrants and want to enroll in community colleges would not be stealing positions from anybody. They would not be creating a burden on the system. They would be seeking to gain skills, well-taught, that could serve them well wherever they chose to live — and that might be the United States, should a coherent and reasonable immigration policy be adopted one day.
Its encouraging to hear voices of reason coming from my home state. Especially in light of the recent death threats aimed at Latino leaders.
A pair of the state’s most prominent advocates, Andrea Bazán and Tony Asion, say that for the past several months, each time they have spoken publicly, they have gotten a raft of profanity-laced messages, some of them exhorting them to return to their home countries and others denigrating Hispanics. Several legislators say they have also gotten messages recently that cross the line into racism, and one got a menacing voice mail.
The Attorney General’s decision is a step in the right direction, but more must be done to combat the hate that is driving the anti-immigrant push in states like North Carolina.