A letter written by J.B. Kelly, general counsel with the N.C. Department of Justice, states that the community college system “has the authority to develop policies on whether or not undocumented aliens can be admitted to community colleges.” Previously, the attorney general’s office had cautioned that the previous policy of admitting illegal aliens might not withstand “judicial scrutiny.”
Now it is up to the community college system to decide what to do. A majority of North Carolina voters oppose admitting illegal aliens into the state’s colleges and universities. Nevertheless, the General Assembly ignored legislation that would have banned illegal aliens from all public postsecondary institutions.
The attorney general’s letter was based on a memo signed by former Mecklenburg Sheriff Jim Pendergraph, who now works for ICE. Pendergraph, who is not an attorney, stated that 8 USC 1621 does not define admission to a public college or university as a federal benefit.
Either way, the General Assembly needs to decide one way or another whether North Carolina is going to admit illegal aliens. The good news is that voters now have a chance to let their voice be heard on this issue.