The University of North Carolina, which is currently considering giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition benefits, denied an Army sergeant the same break even though she owns a home in the Tar Heel state and only moved away briefly because the military stationed her husband in Texas.
Hayleigh Perez, 26, hoped to use her G.I. Bill to attend the UNC’s Pembroke campus near Fort Bragg, but the young veteran — who served a 14-month tour in Iraq — was told she did not qualify as a state resident because she had been gone for about three years.
“I got frustrated. When I tried to inquire, they kept putting up roadblocks,” Perez told FoxNews.com. “It’s just disgraceful that life in Iraq, where you could die, is easier than trying to go to school here.”
Perez enlisted in 2005, and was stationed in Fort Bragg before shipping out to Camp Bucca in Iraq. That’s where she met her husband and fellow soldier, Jose Perez-Rodriguez. The pair married and, when their tours ended in 2006, bought their home in Raeford, N.C. They lived there until 2009, when Jose Perez-Rodriguez was assigned to a base in Texas. But they continued paying the mortgage and taxes on the North Carolina property while she accompanied him on his deployment for six months, and Perez has been in North Carolina for the past two years, she said.
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