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February 16, 2011

Students, activists seek in-state tuition for immigrants

Dozens of supporters and opponents filled a Senate hearing room this afternoon as lawmakers heard testimony on a proposal  to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates at public universities.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Victor Ramirez, a Prince George's County Democrat, and would extend the tuition offer only to students whose families pay taxes. A similar plan was approved in 2003 by the General Assembly, but vetoed by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Gov. Martin O'Malley has indicated that he would sign the bill.

"This legislation is about hope and about dreams," Ramirez said, testifying before his Senate colleagues. He noted that state residents pay about $8,600 per year to attend a public school like the University of Maryland, College Park, while out of state students pay about $25,000.

Supporters wore black T-shirts saying, "I am Maryland. Youth can DREAM," a reference to a failed recent attempt by President Barack Obama to provide a pathway to citizenship for young illegal immigrants through schooling or military service. Many opponents of Ramirez's bill were from a statewide anti-illegal immigrant group called Help Save Maryland. They wore stickers with a red strike across the name Casa de Maryland, a state-supported group that assists immigrants.

(Opponents and supporters pictured.)

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker is among those who support the in-state tuition plan. In written testimony, he said, "Maryland should be investing in all students who live and learn and contribute to our state, regardless of where they were born."

Blake Sutherland of Ridgely in Caroline County plans to testify against the measure, saying the state needs to do more to discourage and penalize illegal immigration. He was joined by about 30 others from Help Save Maryland in the Senate hearing room.

Questions of witnesses showed some senators on the Education, Health and Environment Committee have strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Sen. Joan Carter Conway, committee chairwoman, is a co-sponsor of the bill, while Sen. Bryan Simonaire asked rhetorically why legal U.S. citizens from other states should have to pay more for schooling than students who are illegally in the country.

Tune in here for a live-stream of the EHE hearing, likely to continue for hours. Among the first to testify were lobbyists and officials from K-12 and higher education groups, including the University System of Maryland.

Amid continued federal inaction, Maryland lawmakers are hearing testimony on dozens of immigrant-related bills this year.

"We're acting in Maryland," Ramirez said at the hearing Wednesday, "because federal action has been hindered." 

On Tuesday, Del. Pat McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, is seeking to bar state colleges and universities from providing undocumented immigrants with in-state tuition rate, something currently done only by a Montgomery County community college. McDonough has introduced many related measures, including a bill that would require proof of lawful presence to collect public benefits.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 3:28 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: 2011 legislative session


What part of illegal do these Liberal leaning foolish Progressive legislators not understand?
These are not New Americans,these are illegal immigrants.
Why does Maryland insist on pandering to illegal immigrants?
With a 1.6 billion dollar defecit the state of Maryland cannot afford to pass this bill. Can our taxes in Maryland get any higher?

If we're to act, and especially in his time of financial problems for the State and so many individuals (setting aside the whole illegal border crossing and related criminal acts underlying)...

I can't support any expense greater than buying bus tickets back to whence they came.

With increases in taxes looming, layoffs for state workers coming, services being cut and state college tuitions going up for those of us who are legal, I will be very interested to see how my representatives in the Maryland legislature vote on this.Don't underestimate the will of the people on this matter!

What idiot would even consider giving somebody who doesn't legally reside in this COUNTRY a benefit that an out-of-state U.S. citizen isn't allowed? Oh, a Democrat, nuff said.

I favor not only full tuition payment by MD taxpayers for every illegal who wants to go to college, but full payment of tuition for illegal youngsters who want to go to private secondary, including Gilman type schools.

This payment should be personally be made by the Governor,Lt Gov, all Democratic officeholders in the state legisalture and in our Congressional delegation.

This act of charity will fulfill their lives. I don't believe in Heaven, but if Heaven does exist, I do hope each of these contributors who only favor the Good, and not the Bad, will achieve Heaven. Or a clean conscience.

Otherwise, turn these filthy crimianl trespassers off to our fine contractores hired by Obama to kill terrorists and let us find out what other trespassers are stealing our money.

After that, they canb go to Guantanamor U, the fine school smoothie Hussien said he'd shut down. Along with the Bush telesnooping that the Dems denouced but somehow have continued.

American schools for Americans.

They should have no help in any form, other than a bus to the border, if they are illegal. As soon as they become known, round up the entire illegal family and ship them out. It is time to clean house. They should not be allowed to vote or gain any social services. Those things are for citizens ONLY.

The state of Maryland politics is out of control. This is what happens in a state with a one party system. There are no checks and balances. If this law passes I guarantee you that some hispanic civil rights lawyer will bring a suit against the state of Maryland charging that it is unconstitutional to check if someone is paying taxes. This will open the flood gates for every illegal to attend school in Maryland. The politicians in this state are ignorant and they WILL ruin / bankrupt this once proud state. If the politicians want to reduce the deficit send all the illegals back to whereever they came from!!!!!

What happend to the ILLEGAL part of the Headline? Oh it must be a liberal newpaper that wants to be Politically Correct!!!

The illegals should not even be admitted to state schools, much less receive in-state tuition

First Gay Marriage, now illegals get state aid. Why not let child molesters have day care licenses. O'Malley you Suck! New Americans are illegal immigrants! Why not abolish the prisons and let all law breakers go free! I am a registered Democrat and I am ashamed to say it by the actions of this group!

We give should the illegal (as in criminal) aliens everything the Russians gave the Germans who illegally crossed their border in June, 1941.

Me being American Indian, Maryland does not recognize American Indians, YOU the Politician’s have treated American Indians like we have not existed for many years, but an Illegal alien you will give them anything for free and make the tax payers pay for it.. What part of Illegal you not understand, they have BROKEN the LAW. You should be ashamed of yourself for supporting this bill. Oppose Senate Bill 167

Since it is illegal to hire an illegal alien, then what value would their education have in the job market ?

I've been finding myself siding with the left on recent issues, but I am adamantly AGAINST this. I've lived in Maryland my whole life and my family and I pay MD taxes, but I had to pay out-of-state tuition to go to a public school in NJ two hours (120 miles) from my house. I lived in NJ for the 9 months of school AND some summers, and worked in NJ (and even owed the state of NJ money after I filed taxes my senior year), but I of course never qualified for in-state tuition. So someone who is in this country ILLEGALLY gets to pay instate tuition just because they pay taxes? I wouldn't want to deny an immigrant a college education in the US, but only if they are PAYING THE SAME TUITION AS OUT-OF-COUNTRY STUDENTS who come to the US for an education the LEGAL way!

W H A T ????????

I wonder, is there any place in the world I can expect to bring my family, live illegally, take advantage of free health care, send my children to school for a great education where they will quickly learn at great expense to the state to speak the native language, and then be rewarded with in-state tuition once my child graduates from high school? Please tell me if any other country is as generous as our state legislators at spending their constituents' tax dollars?

I guess the politicians of this great state need to spend some of the 825 million in tax hikes they're proposing or the 2.4 billion Owe'malley is trying to get that Florida turned down.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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