Setback for immigrant college students in N. Carolina

Public colleges in North Carolina should not admit illegal immigrants as students, the state Attorney General's Office advised in a letter released Wednesday.

If followed, the advice would reverse policies at the state's 58 community colleges and at the 16 four-year institutions in the University of North Carolina system, which allow illegal immigrants to attend. It also damages a movement to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrant teenagers who have attended North Carolina high schools.

"It really closes the door of opportunity for a lot of kids," said Andrea Bazan, president of the Triangle Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization, and a longtime Hispanic advocate.

The letter to the general counsel for the Community College System said that higher education is a public benefit that illegal immigrants are not entitled to under federal law.The letter recommended that the colleges revert to a policy that would allow illegal immigrants to take only non-college level courses, such as adult high school and English as a second language.

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