Wednesday, January 2, 2008

GTCC students at heart of immigration debate

Last month in North Carolina, a decision was reached that all Community Colleges in that state had to 'open their doors' to undocumented students; however they would still be charged out-of-state rates. Though most colleges and universities in the United States do admit undocumented students, there is never a guarantee.

As with anything related to immigration, there was an outcry in North Carolina. I find it strange that anyone can be against the education of young people, whether they are here legally or not.

In a recent article dealing with this very thing, Martin Lancaster, president of the community college system, defended the decision:

"In every era of American history, the latest wave of immigrants has faced the same opposition that Hispanics now face whether they arrived on our shores with or without documents," Lancaster wrote. "We are a nation of immigrants and if one reviews the names of those who have called or e-mailed the system office in opposition to our open-door policy, one must conclude that fifty or one hundred years ago, their grandparents or great grandparents faced the same opposition that they are now voicing."

In the same article, one undocumented student, Elena is quoted:

"There are some of us who are struggling very much to get an education," she said. "Some people don't get an education by choice, but that's not our situation."

The article also touches on the day to day stress of the lives of illegal immigrants:

In addition to the usual school stress, Elena worries about immigration agents - that they might deport her or her mother. That's a common worry for undocumented students, said Kristina Johnson, coordinator of the Latino Mental Health Awareness Campaign at the Mental Health Association in Greensboro.

"All of our families live with this stress," Johnson said. "The constant anxiety causes levels of cortisol to remain unnaturally high, which can affect your physical health."

Elena lives with her mom, and since she cannot get a NC drivers license, her mom drives her around.

"Because of that I do not feel independent," she said.

The full article can be read here.


Fash said...

I'm not sure what the attitude is in NC towards immigrants, but the fact that the Governor supports it is very good. Also, all the articles I've read about this have made it sound like the college system was really leaning toward allowing in state. I can definitely see this happening for NC students sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know either. One thing is that colleges like it but another is the people. NC was a state that had a Dream Act bill that did not pass on 2005. It had a lot of support but than anti-immigrants found out and made giant campaign against it. The Dream Act was defeated. Who knows what will happen now...