In spite of NCCCS President Scott Ralls’ statement yesterday that the community college system was going to revert back to its previous policy of admitting illegal aliens, the state board approved a motion today that retains the May 13, 2008, directive prohibiting illegal aliens from enrolling in degree-granting courses at community colleges. (Illegals still are and always have been admitted to continuing education courses.)
Proposed by Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the motion maintains the May 13, 2008, directive “while the long-term policy is being considered.” The ban, in other words, is only temporary and will remain in effect until the board is able to have a study done on this issue.
The study will examine how other states are handling this matter (here, the board could look to South Carolina and Virginia); examine how verification might be undertaken; and look at what policy options are available.
Yesterday, the policy committee thought it would take until spring 2009 to complete a study of this issue. But after the passage of the temporary ban, board members were adamant that any study be completed “aggressively” and “expeditiously.”
As board member Jim Daniels put it: “Every day we dawdle matters. … The people we are talking about are trying to improve themselves … only to want to sample the seeping juices of American plenty. And the longer we dawdle, the longer we hold them up. So I’d like for us to move as quickly as we possibly can.”
Given that no board member, except Perdue (who happens to be running for governor), spoke against admitting illegal aliens, it is clear the board fully expects their proposed study to lay the groundwork for a permanent policy of admitting illegal aliens.
At best, the board will likely move to conform the community college admission policy regarding illegal aliens to match UNC’s current policy — which imposes no restrictions whatsoever on illegals, except that they be graduates of a U.S. high school. And, as President Ralls confirmed yesterday, such a change would have no impact whatsoever on current admissions because the community college system knows of no such students.
In voting to kick this issue down the road, the board was only following the lead of Attorney General Roy Cooper (D), whose inaction short-circuited the General Assembly’s need to address this question during the 2008 session. Following Cooper, who did not provide guidance on illegal aliens until immediately after the May primary, we can expect that the the board’s study will not be completed before November 4, 2008. Expect a policy change in December — just in time for the 2009 spring semester and just prior to when the General Assembly convenes in late January.