BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- A recent order from the state Community College Board requires all North Carolina community colleges to admit undocumented aliens. It fuels the on-going immigration debate. One local women living here without documentation spoke about the board's decision and her story. She didn't want her identity revealed but she is so passionate about education, she wanted to tell her story. "Everyone who is here without documents, it's like a fear that we have." Those are the words of a 20-year-old Mexican woman living in Wilmington without documentation. She has lived here with her family for five years. For her being here means being able to get an education. "It's important to have an education, because that way you can help your family, you can be better informed about what's going on in the community," she said. She says she's happy about the recent directive to allow undocumented aliens into community colleges. She's a student at Brunswick Community College, a school that didn't require documentation. She pays out of state tuition, which is required for all undocumented aliens. Brunswick Community College's out of state tuition is $1,033.30 per semester hour compared to $42 per semester hour for North Carolina residents. "It's kind of like a dream to students that graduate from high school. They want to go to college, but since this opportunity was being denied to them before, now they're going to accept them. I think it's great that students will be able to have an education." She says right now it's not worth it to her to go through the legalization process. "It's not that easy since I was brought here by my parents illegally. That's why I can't, there is no way I can get documents, get documented right now." Immigration attorney Ken Hatcher said, "There's nothing they can do." He says becoming legal is quite a process. "If they're out of status, particularly if they came in the United States illegally, they cannot get their status changed. They have to leave the country and there's a ten-year penalty for those who have been in the US for a year. When they leave they cannot return for ten years," Hatcher said. The woman NewsChannel 3 spoke with says she plans to continue her education here in North Carolina and has no plans of returning to Mexico.
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