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Maryland immigrant in-state tuition bill advances

ANNAPOLIS — A measure allowing some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland passed the Maryland Senate on Monday.

The bill passed 27-20 still must be approved by the House of Delegates before going to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has said he would sign it.

During debate, Sen. Victor Ramirez, the bill sponsor who immigrated legally as a child from El Salvador, told opponents that voting against the bill would not solve problems relating to people living illegally in the state. He said the legislation was needed to help people who live here reach their potential and contribute as much as possible to the state.

“It’s about education,” Ramirez, D-Prince George’s, said. “It’s not about immigration.”

The financial implications for students are significant. In-state tuition is $8,416 annually, and out-of-state students pay $24,831 a year.

Opponents said the legislation raised the issue of who subsidizes the education of illegal immigrants covered by the legislation, not whether or not they can attend college.

“I think this sends a terrible message to everyone in the state that you can break the law and you can get a benefit,” said Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard.

But Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, pointed out the state already is required by law to educate children of illegal immigrants from kindergarten through 12th grade.

“They are here,” King said. “They are going to be living here. They are not leaving.”

Critics cited the cost as a reason why they opposed the bill.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Cecil, noted how the state has been enduring budget cuts for years, and he cited the closing of a mental health facility on the Eastern Shore as an example of how longtime citizens have lost services during the recession.

“But we found the money for this, if we pass this bill,” Pipkin said, adding, “This bill clearly crowds out from our universities those who are here legally as well.”

The measure has an estimated cost of about $800,000 in 2014, $1.6 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in 2016. All are fiscal years.

Since 2001, 10 states have enacted laws to allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities. They are California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington.

The Maryland Senate voted for the bill at a time when many states are working toward cracking down on those who come to the U.S. illegally. The Senate made some changes to the bill last week in order to better ensure people who qualify have been in the country for some time.

For example, students would have to attend community college in a jurisdiction where they went to high school before qualifying for in-state tuition rates at a four-year college or university. Students also would have to spend three years in high school instead of the two years first proposed to be eligible.

That change made the bill similar to legislation that was approved in 2003. It was vetoed by former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a Republican.



Read Senate Bill 167:



  2. This is ridiculous. This just encourages more illegal aliens to enter Maryland to reap the benefits of those who have contributed. Makes me sick. Illegal is illegal!

  3. Really? So I grew up in the midwest and wanted to go the U of MD engineering school. But was told that even though one my parents lived here for the past 30 years (legally) I had to pay out of state tuition because I did not graduate from high school here in MD? I am $50,000 in debt and now realize maybe I should of been more creative and said I was an illegal? hmm this is really not a happy article for those who do pay the out of state tuition.

  4. I think having to pay HIGH out-of-state fees is wrong. It suppose to be an incentive for the student to stay in state and work in state, but the actuality is that most students will travel elsewhere to find employment and also to do graduate studies. There are no guarantees but this HIGH fee is imposed and not disputed.

  5. Join the TEA PARTY fighting the illegal immigration and migrant invasion

    This is what the American people are up against from unconcerned legislators, which have been greedily indoctrinated with money for campaign contributions. Financial favors to keep the conveyor belt of illegal discount labor settling here. Not the fact that there are over 9 million Americans searching for jobs, but 8.5 million illegal aliens are employed by dirty employers. I don’t hesitate to say be a Whistle Blower and inform on companies, where labor there is suspiciously talking in foreign languages other than English. Although California is—THE—prime example, no State within the union is immune.

    Just in the city of Los Angeles, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has just released data from the Department of Public Social Services which shows that in November 2010, $53 million in welfare benefits to foreign nationals. (Another $22 million dollars in CalWORKs and $31 million in Food Stamps) issued to illegal aliens for their instant U.S.-born children in Los Angeles County. I am beginning to wonder who our government has been working for. So this testimony amount is an increase of almost $3 million from November 2009, and represents 22 percent of all CalWORKs and Food Stamp issuance’s in L.A. County. SO QUESTION HOW MUCH IS THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION COSTING YOUR STATE?

    America is losing its mind, when we cannot even support US born Americans or those who came to the US legally and have lost their job. We have our own people to care for, not the rest of the world. Every year my taxes go up in small increments and must be stupid if we don’t realize we are subsidizing large and small businesses. Later–Supervisor Antonovich told reporters: “When you add this to $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for health care, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year — not including the hundreds of millions of dollars for education.” In 2003, the American Southwest saw 77 hospitals enter bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills incurred by illegal aliens. An astounding 84 hospitals in California had been forced to close their doors because of the growing calamity. Similar occurrence took place in Arizona, because of the influx into this border State.

    Hospitals which manage to remain open then passed the due amounts of money onto the rest of us, which translates into more out-of-pocket expenses and higher insurance premiums for all citizens and legal residents. I know for a fact that Contractor and those who sub-contract are using huge amounts of illegal labor, so noticeably they get the better of honest business owners. My cousin in Los Angeles hired a contractor to install a new Air Conditioner in the roof space. My cousin noticed neither laborer word spoke a word of English, so he confronted the Contractor for proof that these people were legal. The supervisor did have all the necessary insurance, but could not prove these workers were here legally. My cousin paid the man for the work done; later to find out half the duct work was not fitted properly. So this is what Citizens and residents are continuously fighting against–improper labor. Most of the duct work had to be re-installed, which ended up costing more money.

    My choice was to join the local TEA Party as they are not part of either the Liberal-tax and spend-Democrats or the well entrenched Republican leadership. They are oriented towards saying no to any type of Amnesty passing, secret or otherwise, including Comprehensive Immigration Reform, The dream Act, visa lotteries or anything else that smells of amnesty, including chain migration and Sanctuary Cities or States. Bringing in highly skilled workers is a necessary evil, as they will be invaluable to America’s future economy. But we must impose zero-tolerance on economical labor, which is stealing the bread from the lowest income, blue collar and in many instances white collar in the labor market. Guest workers are not welcome, until the fraud and corruption is removed from this type of temporary employment. Without many exception, the taxpayers is the ceaseless beneficiary to dishonest business owners on a grand scale, as the taxpayer subsidizing the schooling for the children, health care for all family members and a wide array of other entitlement programs.

    We must demand that E-Verify, 287 G. police training, Secure Communities criminal fingerprinting imposed throughout America, with dire criminal penalties on business that hire foreign labor. Unions are a major problem when it comes to hiring illegal labor, with SEIU Union boss Paul Trumka holding the steering wheel. The unions have seen a fall off in membership, so they are trying to pick up the slack with foreign nationals. Any company that knowingly hires foreign nationals (cannot be any doubt, when it’s over ten people with no papers) the CEO and head executives should go to prison, not pawns such as a human resources manager. It seems to me the sentences are not enough or the prison terms? When you have numbers ranging from a hundred to over three hundred foreign labor that is working, the company president should be seeing at least five years and fines over $250.000 dollars upwards.

    What I am noticing more and more are patriotic workers finding the courage and initiatives to contact ICE agents. Corruption will never cease in Washington, until we introduce taxpayer election money only, as in European countries and limiting election cycles to three months. In addition to safeguard our votes we must make the federal government act, to rewrite election laws. We are being confronted by hundreds of thousands, may be millions of foreign national changing the outcome of elections through voter fraud. The administration MUST mandate that all voters must appear before an election officer with a legal Social Security Card, a valid driver’s license and/or an American Birth certificate that can be validated. Absentee ballots are the easiest form for illegal aliens to use fraudulently.

    Investigate more true facts at NumbersUSA and not only fax federal and State lawmakers, but fax them for free on this site. To turn America around we must exert our own power against such ideologies as being “politically Correct” This country has worked just fine for over two and a half centuries, without being torn apart by Leftist dogma. We don’t need any foreign country or anyone else telling us how to run our country, especially the open border harbingers of overpopulation. If you come to America, it’s not by the invite of the US Government or any specific politicians; it’s by the permission of the American people only.

  6. How many Maryland residents will be denied admission or put on the wait list so that illegals can attend?