All 58 campuses of North Carolina’s community-college system must admit illegal immigrants, a lawyer for the system has said, overturning a policy of allowing the campuses to decide individually whether to consider applicants’ immigration status, according to reports by the Associated Press, The Charlotte Observer, and other news outlets.
David Sullivan, the system’s general counsel, wrote in a memorandum this month that “colleges should immediately begin admitting undocumented individuals,” highlighting the phrase in bold type. State regulations require the colleges to admit undocumented applicants who meet the basic requirements of either having graduated from high school or being at least 18 years old, he said. More than 20 of the colleges now have written or unwritten policies barring admission to illegal immigrants.
Mr. Sullivan said his directive was based on a 1997 opinion by the state’s attorney general at the time — Michael F. Easley, a Democrat who is now governor — which said that the colleges could not impose nonacademic criteria for admission.