The State Board of Community Colleges appeared to be headed for a unanimous vote this morning, as several members extolled the virtues of opening the doors to illegal immigrants.
But when the votes were cast, there was one quiet "nay" vote — from Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who had been silent during the discussion, reports Kristin Collins.
After the vote, one of Dalton's staffers passed out a written statement to reporters. It said the colleges should focus their limited resources on helping laid-off workers get new training, not educating illegal immigrants.
"Now is not the time to increase the demands on our already overburdened community college system," Dalton, a Democrat, said in the statement.
Community college officials said that they expect allowing illegal immigrants to enroll at out-of-state rates, about $7,700 a year, to add fewer than 150 students to the current total of about 800,000.
Before the board meeting ended, Dalton made a quiet exit. While most of the reporters stood in the building lobby, community college staffers escorted Dalton to a staircase just outside the meeting chambers.
When Dome asked Dalton to elaborate on his no vote, he said, "I've got a statement," before disappearing into the stairwell.