Martin Lancaster, former president of the North Carolina Community College System, today acknowledged that “he fully expects legislators to pass a law barring illegal immigrants from the state’s colleges.”
As Civitas uncovered in November 2007, Lancaster’s office issued a memo requiring all community colleges in North Carolina to admit illegal aliens. The resulting firestorm led all of the gubernatorial candidates (with subsequent waffling from Perdue) to declare that they oppose giving in-state tuition to illegals.
But if illegals shouldn’t receive in-state tuition, they also shouldn’t receive out-of-state tuition. After all, tuition payments only account for 13 percent of total community college funding. Taxpayers, in other words, are still subsidizing the education of illegal aliens who pay the out-of-state rate.
More to the point, illegal aliens with a state-funded college education are no more eligible to work legally in the United States than are illegals who do not have a college education. So, why spend state funds to educate people who cannot legally work in North Carolina?
By contrast, neighboring Virginia has advised that its universities and colleges cease admitting illegal aliens. Currently, seven prominent VA schools do not admit illegals: the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, James Madison University, the College of William and Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Northern Virginia Community College. In September 2003, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund challenged this policy in federal court. The state’s position was upheld by Judge T. S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia, who confirmed that “the colleges and universities could deny admission to anyone they chose, without violating the Constitution or exceeding their authority.” In July 2004, Judge Ellis further held that the schools had used appropriate standards for determining immigration status. In March 2008, Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell issued another memorandum stating that the adult children (even those born in Virginia, up to age 24) of illegal aliens should be classified as out-of-state residents for tuition purposes.
There is no essential difference between giving in-state tuition or out-of-state tuition to illegals. In both cases, taxpayers are subsidizing and encouraging law-breaking. Banning in-state and out-of-state tuition for illegal aliens is both constitutional and makes logical sense.