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NC AG agrees with schools on immigrant tuition

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Protesters rally outside Attorney General Roy Cooper's office to demand in-state tuition for undocumented students. Protesters rally outside Attorney General Roy Cooper's office to demand in-state tuition for undocumented students.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Attorney General Roy Cooper's office released a letter Thursday saying state law would have to be changed before North Carolina's university and community college systems could offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. without legal authorization.

Two staff attorneys in the Department of Justice wrote an advisory letter to a state House member asking for the AG's opinion on in-state tuition for students who now qualify for work permits.

The debate is centered around students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It is a temporary pass from deportation to students who were brought to the US before they were 16. Students can attend state colleges now if they graduated from a U.S. high school and pay out-of-state tuition.

It's not the response immigrant rights groups were hoping to hear.

"He is slamming the door of education in our faces and not allowing us to contribute to a state that has already invested in educating us," said Viridiana Martinez, co-founder of the NC DREAM Team.

Students like Keny Murillo, a second-year student at Wake Tech, say it makes it's discouraging.

"We're not asking for financial aid, we're not asking for you to pay for our classes or tuition, we're asking for the opportunity to be able to afford it," he said.

He's lived in North Carolina since he was 9, graduated from a North Carolina high school, but pays out-of-state tuition.

"The time is always right to do what is right," said Murillo, "I believe Martin Luther King said that so I'm going to continue to put up a fight because I'm determined to graduate and get a degree."

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