The board that governs North Carolina's 58 community colleges has voted to keep in place a ban on illegal immigrants but delay a permanent policy until it completes a study of how other states handle such students. The decision, reached on August 15, has hardly appeased folks on either side of the debate. Both supporters of an open-door policy and opponents of illegal immigration denounced the decision as a political play by members of the state board, including Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Democratic candidate for governor, who made the motion to keep the ban while a study is ongoing. Perdue has been unavailable for comment, but other board members have said that their decision was not politically motivated.
Last week, U.S. News reported on undocumented students who are caught between conflicting immigration policies. In North Carolina, the community colleges have been flip-flopping on whether to admit undocumented students for years. Of the estimated 300,000 students enrolled in the state's community colleges in 2006-07, only 112 were illegal immigrants, according to the results of one survey. Jacqueline, a North Carolina undocumented student who spoke with U.S. News, can continue her studies. The ban affects only new applicants who are illegal immigrants—whose future is now even more uncertain.