Obama Affirms College Policy

Obama affirms college policy
Points to McCain bill on immigrants

Rob Christensen, Staff Writer
The News & Observer
October 1, 2008

John McCain has supported legislation that would enable children of illegal immigrants to attend college, says the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

The Republican presidential nominee co-sponsored The Dream Act in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The act would allow high school children of illegal immigrants to obtain permanent residency by attending college or serving in the armed forces.

During a visit to North Carolina over the weekend, Obama, an Illinois senator, said he favored allowing the children of illegal immigrants to attend community colleges.

“For us to deny them access to community college, even though they've never lived in Mexico, at least as far as they can tell … is to deny that this is how we've always built this country up,” Obama said in an interview with WUNC during a campaign stop in Greensboro.

The McCain campaign responded by saying it did not support amnesty or benefits but did not specifically address the question of who can attend community colleges.

“The McCain campaign is trying to get away with something here,” said Paul Cox, an Obama campaign spokesman. “They're trying to make voters think there is a distinction between the two candidates' positions where there is none.”

The issue has been contentious in North Carolina. Last month, the State Board of Community Colleges agreed to spend up to $75,000 to study whether to admit illegal immigrants as students.

There were 112 illegal immigrants among the 300,000 students enrolled in the state community college system last year.

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532