1251 NW Maynard Road, Suite 108
Cary, NC 27513
August 8, 2008
Mr. Richard W. Sullins
Executive Director of the State Board
North Carolina Community College System
200 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Dear Mr. Sullins:
Thank you for the opportunity to share my view. The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges will be considering the matter of allowing illegal immigrants to attend our NC Community Colleges. We are opposed to illegal immigrants attending NC Community Colleges.
Wonder what persons waiting in line to legally come to America think about illegal immigrants being allowed to attend our NC Community Colleges? Should those who jump in front of the line of others deserve to be rewarded? A 2008 statewide NC Civitas poll shows 68% of voters believe illegal immigrants should be prohibited from enrolling in community colleges and public universities in North Carolina. After all if one is in America in violation of our immigration laws, how is it appropriate to allow them to attend college here? It is a violation of federal law to aid and abet and induce illegal immigrants to come to America or assist them in staying here. Isn’t allowing them to attend college providing such assistance? Our North Carolina Constitution says state law cannot contravene federal law.
There are those who say we are denying an education to illegal immigrants who may have been brought here by their parents. Illegal immigrants are allowed to attend K-12 grades in our public schools. But a high school graduate is almost always an adult and, if in America illegally, can return to their native country and attend college. So it is a non-starter that illegal immigrants will be denied a college education. How would an illegal immigrant attain a job after college, since it is against federal law to hire an illegal immigrant? President Bush recently signed an executive order requiring all bidders on federal contracts to check the legal status of their workers through the federal government’s E-Verify System. A bi-partisan bill was introduced in the (recent) short session of the NC General Assembly to require all employers in North Carolina to use the E-Verify System. According to the Department of Homeland Security, over 1500 employers in North Carolina are currently using E-Verify and more companies are choosing to do so each week, even though it is not yet mandatory for all companies. An illegal immigrant in college in America also runs the risk of being deported at any time.
Opponents often refer to illegal immigrants as simply immigrants in an attempt to distort the matter. Our Country is very generous with legal immigration, as we allow approximately one million legal immigrants into the USA each year. Mexico, as it turns out, is allowed the most — at twice the number of any other country. Note this reference pertains to legal immigrants, not visitors or migrant workers entering the USA. It is patently unfair to would-be legal immigrants, who are waiting their turn in line, for us to bestow privileges to illegal immigrants.
The unemployment rate for North Carolina is rising and many citizens are hurting and need training in order to find another job. This is especially true for low-skilled and less educated citizens. Often the recent unemployed with low skills find themselves competing with illegal immigrants for a job. In North Carolina only 15% of illegal immigrants work in agricultural jobs. I would rather our North Carolina Community Colleges become even more focused on improving the skill sets of citizens and helping them be better prepared for the workplace and global economy, than helping illegal immigrants take jobs from North Carolinians.
One of the more vocal supporters of allowing illegal immigrants to attend our NC colleges and a “path to citizenship and jobs” is the News & Observer editorial staff. A main theme seems to be we can’t deport en masse 12-14 million illegal immigrants, so we might as well educate them and possibly give them a path to citizenship/amnesty. Actually, no one is seriously recommending mass deportation. However a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC,
states the illegal immigrant population is shrinking due to enforcement of our immigration laws. This is most notably due to better border enforcement, tightening of driver’s license requirements, more employers using the E-Verify System, implementation of the 287g program to use local law enforcement, and more states doing their part. Statewide NC Civitas polls and nationwide polls show Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of our government taking a broad enforcement approach to immigration, when given the choice.
Our state and its agencies have a choice. We can be part of the illegal immigration problem in North Carolina by ignoring immigration laws, or we can be part of the solution. This is not a suggestion for our community college employees to become police officers, but rather that they use the federal SAVE System to determine legal resident status in our Country before providing the privilege of enrolling in our community colleges. Unemployed citizens, who need the available jobs, hope we use our educational resources for them. So does the citizenry.
NC LISTEN is also cosponsoring, with Civitas, a luncheon workshop on what local officials can do about illegal immigration. Sign up here.