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Alabama Bars Undocumented Immigrants from Community Colleges


Alabama has joined North Carolina in deciding not to admit undocumented immigrants to community colleges. The policy will go into effect next spring, according to a Sept. 26 Associated Press article. The Alabama state board of education approved the policy on Sept. 26.

Last May North Carolina barred undocumented students from community colleges and decided to stick with that policy even after it received clarification from the federal government that it could go either way: admit or not admit them. South Carolina has enacted a law saying undocumented students can't be admitted to ANY state colleges. And Arkansas education officials have said the state won't pay for colleges and universities to educate undocumented students--and they are requiring state institutions of higher education to ask students about their immigration status.

This list of states that are denying access is short, but all of these policies came about only since spring, so the trend has gained momentum in a short while.

Meanwhile, the Mexican American Educational and Legal Defense Fund is trying to get the word out that although a California appellate court decided on Sept. 15 that giving in-state tuition rates to undocumented students conflicts with federal law, the provision for undocumented students to receive such rates is still in effect—at least until the matter is resolved in court. The appellate court sent the matter back to a trial court for further proceedings.


It just hurts education for everyone. The Southern states have a history of denying education to many people and public education never took hold until Reconstruction. Public education in the South still is limited to the poor and this has been why vouchers have been pressed by Congress so forcefully. Keeping people uneducated is not good for anyone. Mexicans are the new victims.

This is sad news for my students, who were brought here as very young children, by no choice of their own. They have grown up here, learned English, proved themselves to be capable, hardworking students, only to be told they cannot go any further than high school. These kids don't even KNOW anyone in their home country - how is it helping the immigration problem to keep them from higher education? They will be sentenced to a life of minimum wages, even though they are capable of much more, and willing to work very hard for it.

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