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Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education issued new guidelines that outline the legal responsibility of schools to enroll all students, regardless of a child’s or parent’s immigration status. It’s an important step in ensuring the right of every child to a public education, and fortunately is one that will be carried out here in North Carolina as well.

On May 12, State Superintendent June Atkinson sent a letter to all North Carolina school districts, reminding them of the policies that prohibit the schools from denying or delaying enrollment for students.

The letter reads:

School districts, whether through registration, student information verification, or other data collection, may not require Social Security numbers, may not ask questions regarding or evidence of immigration status, or for any other documentation that is not required in order to register or enroll in school.

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Immigrants ICEHouse Speaker John Boehner’s most recent delay tactic in preventing passage of an immigration reform bill has been to state that Republicans have “widespread doubt about whether [the Obama] administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.”  As anyone paying attention to the immigration debate is aware, this is a ridiculous statement—the Obama administration has steadily increased the number of deportations conducted compared to previous administrations.  The most recent statistics show that almost 420,000 immigrants were deported in fiscal year 2012, more immigrants deported in a single year by any president.

A recent essay in the D.C. news website The Hill by a retired immigration judge makes a powerful argument against that ridiculous claim.  Retired Judge John Gossart, Jr. remarks:

“In my thirty-one years as a United States immigration judge, I have never had as many people come through my courtroom as I have over the last six years. During this time, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of non-citizens that the United States detains and deports, and the detained number of individuals appearing in immigration courts today is unprecedented. Read More

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Young undocumented immigrants who received temporary reprieve from deportation under a federal deferred-action plan aren’t entitled to in-state tuition for North Carolina’s universities and community colleges, lawyers for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote in an advisory letter yesterday.

Assistant attorney generals Alexander Peters and Kimberly Potter were responding to an inquiry from state Rep. Marcus Brandon, a High Point Democrat. Deferred-action, called DACA, was granted to immigrants in 2012 who came to the country as children and are now able to apply to reside and work in the country provided they have a clear criminal records and have pursued an education or served honorably in the military.

In the letter, Peters and Potter  wrote that immigrants that fall under the deferred-action plan (DACA) don’t meet the residency requirement that North Carolina uses.

That could change if the N.C. General Assembly changes the residency requirement. The letter noted that Brandon had sponsored legislation that did not pass last year that would have done that.

“In order for students who have been granted DACA status to be eligible for the benefit of in-state tuition, the North Carolina General Assembly would have to amend (the law) to make an exception for such individuals, change the residency requirements, or otherwise proved by law that individuals with DACA classification are, under such circustances as may be set by statute, eligible for in-state tuition,” Cooper wrote.

Fifteen states do offer in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, according to the National Council for State Legislatures.

Agda CA Letter by NC Policy Watch

 

 

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Immigrants ICEA recent court settlement in Alabama should serve as a warning to North Carolina legislators who still seek to pass anti-immigrant laws. Alabama agreed to settle two law suits brought against it after the passage of its harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, in 2011.  Both immigrants’ rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice sued Alabama over different parts of the law, and both those suits settled last week.

Previously many of the harshest provisions of the Alabama law had already been temporarily blocked by courts, and in the new settlement, Alabama agreed that those provisions would never go into effect, including a provision requiring public schools to verify the immigration status of students, and one preventing all contracts with undocumented immigrants. The permanent blocking of those harmful provisions is a huge victory for immigrants in Alabama and across the nation.

Most of the parts of the law that are now permanently blocked in Alabama never made it into North Carolina’s omnibus immigration bill, HB 786, which was proposed in 2013.  However, several provisions in Alabama’s law were identical or similar to those proposed here, and their fate in this recent settlement should be of interest to state lawmakers.

North Carolina legislators, for example, Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

North Carolina has long benefited from the immeasurable economic contributions of its immigrant population who play a vital role as neighbors, entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers. A new interactive map and companion statewide factsheet, launched today by the NC Justice Center, document key economic and demographic trends among immigrants living in North Carolina and its 100 counties.

Some noteworthy findings for immigrants living in North Carolina include: Read More