Action Alert: Support Community College Access for ALL North Carolinians

ACTION ALERT

PUBLIC HEARING

NC STATE BOARD OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES

In September, the State Board of Community Colleges agreed to allow undocumented students into NC Community Colleges with certain conditions after nearly two years of intense debate. However, this will not take effect until this policy proposal goes through a “Permanent Rule-Making Process,” which could take 6-12 months. This process begins with a Public Hearing, an opportunity for community members to express their opinions on the issue.  This is an essential step in ensuring that the State Board of Community Colleges continues to do the right thing by allowing all students to enroll in any NC community college. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

When: Friday, December 18, 2009

Time:  10:00 a.m. –12:30 p.m.

Where:  Archives and History/State Library Building
             109 East Jones Street
             Raleigh, NC 27603

Why:  We have demanded access to higher education for all of our students and we must now demonstrate that we support this step in the right direction that the State Board of Community Colleges has taken. We must have enough speakers lined up to speak in favor of an open door policy, especially because we know that our opposition will also be lined up to speak against this proposal.

How YOU Can Support Education for ALL

Before Day of Hearing:

o       Written Comments: Provide written comments in support of the decision to allow all students, regardless of immigration status, into NC Community Colleges. The deadline for submitting written comments is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 18, 2009. Written comments may be submitted at the public hearing or may be sent as follows:
Q. Shanté Martin, Rule-making Coordinator
200 W. Jones Street, 5001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-5001
Email: publiccomments@nccommunitycolleges.edu

Day of Hearing, December 18, 2009:

o       Oral Comments: All persons desiring to provide an oral comment must be present by 8:30am to sign in. When you sign in you will be required to provide your name, affiliation, city and state prior to speaking. Oral comments will be limited to three (3) minutes per person. The Hearing Officer prefers that any person desiring to make an oral presentation at the public hearing present a written copy of the presentation prior to addressing the hearing.

o       Be Present: The room in which the Hearing will be held accommodates 215 people. We need to fill as many of those seats as we can!

 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
How Do I Get Access to the Hearing?
You may need to provide a photo identification to enter the building. If you have questions about this, call the NC Justice Center at 919-856-2178 and leave a message – English or Spanish.

 
Am I Allowed to Speak at the Hearing?
Anyone is allowed to speak if they have signed up between 8:30 and 10am at the hearing location. The sign-up sheet for speakers is a public document open to inspection and scrutiny by everyone. Oral comments are also available to the public the day of the event and afterwards.

The Adelante Education Coalition recognizes the rights of all people-- regardless of national origin, immigration status or citizenship status-- to have a voice in the policies that affect them. Therefore, we encourage participation by a wide range of community stakeholders in this debate, including students, parents, teachers, business leaders, faith leaders, service organizations, and beyond. We also ask participants to consider the risks or consequences in terms of immigration issues before identifying themselves or their friends/classmates in a public way. Participants 18 years old and younger are welcomed and needed, yet we recommend they discuss their decision to speak out with close family members and other trusted advisors.

If you are not a US Citizen, and you have questions about speaking at the hearing, call the NC Justice Center at 919-856-2178 and leave a message – English or Spanish.

 
Anti-Immigrant Opposition:
It is important to understand that anti-immigrant leaders and groups may be participating in the public event, both inside and outside the building. Please avoid debating and negative interaction with the people with whom we disagree. If you are feeling unsafe while attending the event, please use your best judgment in deciding your level of participation. Ask for help if you need it-- we expect you will be able to identify supporters of the Adelante Coalition at the event as those wearing a sticker saying “Access to Education for All.”

For More Information Prior to the Event Contact:
Adelante Education Coalition
www.adelantenc.org

Comments

I'll be there.

Come find me if you're there. I'll be the 6'6" white guy in a dark suit.

Anyone else torn on this issue?

Sorry this is so long.

First let me say that I totally get that the anti-immigration folks don't have the right motivations for their stance. They are anti-immigration for reasons that I find grotesque. I am not on their side in that regard. Conversely, while I have no doubts about their motivations, I have to wonder about the goals of the other side, the one expressed here.

Perhaps I just see things through the lens of Marxist history too often, but here is the problem I have making my mind up on this issue.

Corporations benefit from illegal immigration* because it allows them to manipulate the supply side of the supply and demand balance between employer and employee. By having a steady supply of low cost labor, not only can they use that labor, they can also use it to keep labor values down.

Labor values are, at least in my view, bottom up. This means that if the lowest paid worker earns $A, your value is x$A as determined by how many times more valuable your labor is than the lowest paid worker. Of course it isn't that simple, because there are many steps on the ladder, so you may actually be x$M but when you back it out, every job (letter) value is based on the previous one. The point here is that the system is not based on the highest worker where someone earns %$Z, where Z is the CEO's salary and we work down to your letter. I see no proof of that situation anywhere.

Thus, if the employer can backdoor a low cost supply of labor, even if it is at the very bottom, it can help them depress wages (labor costs in their view) at nearly every level. This is what illegal immigration does for them.

The reason I characterize it as a backdoor method or subverting the supply and demand relationship is because you cannot as easily get employment outside the country as they can bring in employees, thereby negating your ability to put the balance back in the labor price market. Furthermore, you are often restricted from getting goods or services from outside the country so when the company (employer) is the supply side and you the consumer (employee) are the demand side, you cannot turn the tables then either.

So where does this all fit into community colleges? At first glance it would seem like it would behoove everyone but the corporate interests to have the current lowest cost and unskilled labor, the illegal immigrant population, get skills so that they can move up the ladder, pushing the rest of us up too. I thought that as well for a while, and then thought of something else.

There appears no reason to think that the supply of the lowest cost labor is actually going to diminish as a result of this effort. Employer will still have access to new immigrants that they can pay less than what would otherwise be fair market value. By adding illegals to the skilled labor pool, corporations can now directly depress wages in that area too. No longer will they have to rely on the x$A effect to I described earlier to move up the ladder, now they can control x$B, x$C and maybe more.

We know that illegal immigrants earn less, so by allowing them to train here to be welders, auto mechanics, HVAC techs and so on, aren't we just giving the corporate interests another way to depress wages for all of us? Instead of just having a supply-demand system bypass for the lowest cost labor, now they have control over some of the steps above that as well.

The skilled trades are already vulnerable in this country, having seen little increase in real income for some time. While I am not questioning the motivation of those who want illegal immigrants to be allowed to attend community colleges, I do question if the results are really what we want.

* FYI, I call it illegal immigration not undocumented for two reasons. One, it is against the law and I think that we should respect the rule of law even if we want it changed. Second, I am actually an immigrant, now a proud citizen of this country, but I cannot see myself as having ever been a documented immigrant. That diminishes the significance of the process for me.

I'll make it a little more simple

Illegal immigrants (to use your term) pay full out-of-state costs for classes, and therefore subsidize in-state citizens taking classes.

What's not to like?

It makes CCs cheaper for the students and the taxpayer.

Of course these are ridicously low fractional percentages we're dealing with here in both your and my examples.

 

Hmm

Illegal immigrants (to use your term) pay full out-of-state costs for classes, and therefore subsidize in-state citizens taking classes.

What's not to like?

Exploiting the vulnerable for financial gain isn't something I like. Particularly when I wonder if that exploitation is actually furthering their vulnerability.

Down the garden path

So it's more paternalistic not to give them education when they're begging to pay more for privilege of getting it?

We're not talking about ice cream sundaes here.

Just a handful of willing folks wanting to take some community college classes and willing to pay a great deal for it.

 

I'm not sure

Please understand, I am not decided on this issue and I am using this as a way of coming to grips with what this all means.

I see your point. On an individual level it is clear to me what should be done. But on a societal level, the implications are not so clear.

To illustrate, you said:

Just a handful of willing folks wanting to take some community college classes and willing to pay a great deal for it.

What if I turn that around and say:

Just a handful of willing folks wanting to come to this country and willing to pay a great deal for it.

Would you be OK charging large sums of money to everyone who comes into this nation? After all, it would subsidize things for taxpayers now, no different than what you said for illegals and community colleges.

Already done

Would you be OK charging large sums of money to everyone who comes into this nation?

We already do that. As you well know, there's a lengthy process for getting here - and it can be expensive (and enriching for some who are a part of that system).

The leaders of the community college system are deciding if/how to tweak the rules of entrance to their system.

No big difference.

They can decide based on some sense of a larger societal imperative or cold hard cash. They are entrusted with leadership of the system for just such reasons.

 

I think the price of coming to America

is customarily taken out of one's hide. Most immigrants have had to work for peanuts for a few generations but at least there was a middle class to aspire to. I can't really imagine why anyone would want to jump on to a sinking boat.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

There is a difference here, loftT

The immigrants you're talking about, for the most part (exceptions excluded) came here under the laws of our land. If you are including illegal immigrants in what you're saying, you're comparing apples to oranges and, on top of that, advocating acceptance of people that violate our nation's laws.

Maybe I'm not understanding the meaning of your post. Correct me, if so. Thanks.

Well, you're not wrong

but I was thinking more in the metaphysical sense of things how immigrants have been put through the hoops as they have entered the country, whether or not they came through Ellis Island. It has to take some great courage for a person to leave everything she/he knows behind and try to make a go in a place where she/he doesn't even speak the language.

What really is the difference in an illegal and a legal alien when you drill down to a personal level? One is State sanctioned and one not, but why? What makes one better than another?

Progressives are the true conservatives.

You are a good soul, loftT

I know your intentions here are good. I absolutely do not take issue with how you feel about how our country was formed first and foremost by "immigrants" and that our credo is to accept the "downtrodden...etc.".

But (and you know the "but" was coming :), today, in our country, in my opinion we absolutely have to get control of "illegal" immigration less we just open our boarders to anyone and everyone to "use and abuse" our freedoms and rights and priviliges. Back in the day, people came here to be good citizens and to be productive members of our society and to become Americans for the sake of maintaining our national heritage. Today? Well, far too many come here determined to change our customs and national heritage and for nothing else other than to receive "benefits" without earning them and contributing to our country's national good, so to speak.

I guess in some ways I differ from many on BlueNC with regard to the illegals that have come here in that respect. We, as taxpaying citizens, are taking care of millions of people that are not interested in citizenship or in being contributing citizens. Yes, there are exceptions like "Joe Mandez" or "Hernandez Morales" that can be cited, but by-and-large, those are just exceptions. Sooner or later, there is a limit to our hospitality. We do have laws, as much as some folks do not want to accept them.

Let us not argue this. I sense you and I have differing opinions on this but it is currently not our most pressing issue of the day, IMO.

Love your posts most of the time, loftT. Keep it up, my friend.

Ohhh, let's do argue it.

I love a good debate with someone who is respectful as you are.

I challenge you to look at things from another point of view my friend, even just for the hell of it.

You say immigrants come here to "receive "benefits" without earning them and contributing to our country's national good" but I think it is our country that is receiving benefits by using cheap labor and an expendable workforce. We also do collect taxes every time someone buys gas or some other taxable commodity. I don't know and I don't think you do either what motivates people but I doubt that many are not self interested or even thinking of how to maintain our national heritage. Our national heritage is as fluid and changing as the shores of our country.

Where you and I may find common ground is that I too think that the flow of humanity into the US should be slowed, but I never thought that a wall and a closed border could accomplish it. We need to enforce our labor laws. We need employers to quit taking advantage of people and guess what, I heard on the local news today that employers are required to have paperwork on file for each employee proving citizen status. Maybe things will turn around.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

Foxy, both legal and illegal

immigrants have always come here for one main reason: to enrich themselves and their families, and secure a more stable future. And that's more than okay, it's admirable.

But when you set up one group as being morally superior, and give them (likely) false traits, such as "wanting to be good citizens" and "maintaining our national heritage", while setting up the others as selfish takers who want to subvert our country, you're creating groups of people who (for the most part) don't exist.

They're just people, trying to take care of their families one day at a time.

I may have come across wrong on this, sharrison

Hey, I'm not a "Mexican/illegal basher", honest. I guess my posts are kind of sounding that way. I know what you are saying about these folks wanting to come here to achieve more for themselves and their families and of course that's admirable like you said. But, if I got me and my kids to sneak into the Panther's stadium to watch a football game because I could not afford the price of admission trying to be a good dad finding a way for me and my kids to see a game, it would be illegal and wrong. It might be a silly analogy, but it speaks to the issue. There is a right way and a wrong way and there is a legal way and an illegal way to reside and work and raise your family in our country. I agree with another poster here that said that the immigration laws must be enforced and if they are wrong or unfair somehow, we need to change them, not ignore them.

Oh, and REAL happy to see you're on here which means you're doing fine with all this white stuff on the road.

Stay safe, my man.

Pay close attention to they lyrics

"There will be poor always, pathetically struggling, look at the good things you've got."

Subtle

As my wife would surely tell you, subtle doesn't work with me. In fact, a two-by-four to the head may be too subtle for me as I actually require a brick.

What are you trying to say, James?

In the grand scheme

the best we can do amounts to little of significance. Big Money will always find a way to exploit people living on the edge, no matter where that edge is. There will always be a sufficient supply of those people to keep the Art Pope's of the world rolling in the dough.

Much to be seen in that video

You may have to watch the video from Jesus Christ Superstar (above) a couple times to actually get a grasp of what is being said. What is being said is not in words, rather in the eyes of the black man looking back at Jesus as he is being anointed with oil to sooth his grief and compassion for the poor and less fortunate souls in the world. The meaning is clear. Words of compassion and well wishing and cries of outrage and disgust while not realizing the devastating plight of the downtrodden is of no consequence in (how does James put it?) the grand scheme of things.

When man overcomes his neverending quest for more and more money and power and influence, only then will we see mankind interested in resolving the devastation of human suffering.

- Foxtrot

Agreed on some of it, loftT

When you put the following quote out, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly:

We need to enforce our labor laws.

And, of course these "illegals" pay taxes when they buy stuff and so forth. To me, it is special to be a citizen in America and with that comes many things that the illegals currently receive without making the effort to at least be Americans. I have a problem with that, you seem not to and have your reasons. It's all good, loftT. We just disagree on it.

Foxy

A teeny bit more perspective

Consider that most Americans make no effort to be Americans. They can't even bother to vote.

Progressives are the true conservatives.

True but...

True but, legal immigrants like myself do make an effort not only to be Americans but to become Americans. I was a kid when I came here so it wasn't my effort, but my parents waited until my brother and I were 18 before they brought up citizenship so that it would be our choice as adults. While I understand that our laws may be unjust and that not everyone is given the opportunities that I am so thankful I had, I agree with Foxy that we have to respect those laws. If the laws are wrong, change them, don't ignore them.

It is admirable what so many do

to become new Americans. They appreciate what it means more than many natural born citizens who take it all for granted.

If you read upstream my comment to Foxtrot:

I too think that the flow of humanity into the US should be slowed, but I never thought that a wall and a closed border could accomplish it. We need to enforce our labor laws.

I don't think the laws are wrong, I just think the enforcement of them has been wrong and tyrannical by laxness in some areas and brutality in others.

Progressives are the true conservatives.