by Ben Smith
Several weeks ago, the UNC Chapel Hill Student Congress passed a
resolution supporting in-state tuition for undocumented students
who have graduated from a high school from North Carolina.
The resolution, sponsored by Speaker Pro-Tempore John Guzek,
calls on the school to support state House Bill 904, which would
make the act law statewide.
During the debate on the measure, only one member of Student
Congress spoke in opposition to the resolution. Rep. Peter
McClelland said the resolution was supporting a "bill to nowhere
that would not pass the conservative-dominated NC House." He went
to admonish the other members claiming that resolutions passed by
student legislatures "have considerable weight and we should not be
diluting its importance by supporting a bill that will be dead on
Supporters of the bill dismissed McClelland's claim and
continued on with the legislative debate. Supporters discussed the
hardship of growing up as undocumented students in North Carolina.
They discussed their own personal achievements thanks to the many
opportunities afforded to them by living in the United States. Many
speakers, undocumented themselves, broke down into tears by the end
of their speeches.
After the testimony from the undocumented students, the student
representatives debated the bill. The debate mostly consisted of
members praising the bravery of the speakers for coming forward.
Some members even tried to fight off their own emotions when
discussing the issue. Despite high praise from most members, one
member confided during the debate, due to the presence of the UNC
Student Power Union, a mix of the Campus Y and radical leftists
groups, that they felt uncomfortable speaking out against the
measure. After the motion to end debate concluded, members began to
vote. Despite the almost inevitably of the bill's failure in the NC
House, the resolution passed on a 21-5 vote with 2 abstentions.
This resolution is bad for several reasons, but the first being that it is against the law. According to 8 U.S. Code, § 1623, precedence clearly states that:
(a) In general Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.
(b) Effective date:
This section shall apply to
benefits provided on or after July 1, 1998."
In addition, despite many of the others who have gone through
the long, expensive process of becoming naturalized, all the
student needs to do is apply to a university. Knowing the liberal
atmosphere on many campuses, their acceptance is all but
guaranteed. This will only encourage more illegal immigration.
The resolution should not have been passed and simply gives
weight and the prestige of UNC Chapel Hill behind a failed and
Ben is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar at Young America's Foundation this summer. He is also a rising senior at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who is doubling majoring in
Political Science and History with an American concentration. He is
the Executive-Vice President of his conservative club on