Just when you thought the dust was settling on the issue of illegal immigrants and community colleges, UNC decides to “study” in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Let’s face it, the real goal of proponents all along has been in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at ALL the state’s higher education institutions. While the timing surprised many, I simply think UNC is trying to minimize the fallout, figuring the community colleges have already taken much of the public hit. With somewhere around 500,000 illegal immigrants in NC, they are a big market for UNC.
While UNC commission members “study,” they may want to review provisions in the Immigration Reform Act of 1996 (Federal Law, 8 USC Section, 1621, 1623). Simply stated it’s illegal for a state to grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition unless the benefit is provided to all citizens or nationals in the United States. Translation: All those now paying out-of-state tuition (i.e. non-resident citizens) must also be extended in-state tuition benefits as well. The change would most likely require action by the state legislature. We’ll be watching this closely.