Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ban on Illegal Immigrants in Community Colleges

By Katherine Rumbaugh, PPP Spring Fellow

In light of the bill filed in the state senate earlier this month, PPP ran a poll testing whether North Carolina voters thought illegal immigrants should be allowed to enroll in the state's community colleges.

Do you think illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend community colleges in North Carolina?

Yes 19
No 74

Obviously, 55 percentage points is a huge disparity. North Carolina may have gone blue in the November election, but the majority of the state's electorate still don't have sympathy for those who enter the country illegally. That's in line with the community college system's current policy prohibiting illegal immigrants from enrolling as students.

Voters' sentiments apparently extend to the children of illegal immigrants as well. 52% of respondents said they do not think illegal immigrants' children who have attended N.C. public K-12 schools should be allowed to take classes at community colleges. In regards to children born to illegal immigrants in this country - remember, that makes them American citizens - 48% still said that they should not be allowed to attend community colleges.

Across party lines, the majority of voters desire to bar undocumented immigrants from attending public colleges, with 63% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, and 73% of independents reporting as such.

While the bill proposed in the state legislature still received majority support from voters regardless of political affiliation, the numbers were slightly lower than for the aforementioned questions. 52% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and 62% of independents reported that they supported codifying the existing policy.

It's worth noting that in a PPP survey conducted two weeks ago only 3% of North Carolina voters listed immigration as their top issue.

Side note: Fortunately, the bill is not as punitive as some voters might be. It does not bar from enrollment children born in this country to parents who are here unlawfully.

Full results here.

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