Senate OKs in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
Annie Linskey reports:
The state Senate has given preliminary approval to a measure that allows illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition at colleges and universities, overcoming the objections of some who said the proposal is too costly, violates federal law and will displace U.S. citizens.
The bill, called the Maryland DREAM Act, passed Wednesday evening after six hours of debate that spilled into a rare evening session. The Senate is expected to vote on final passage on Monday. Wednesday’s vote is a strong signal that the measure will be successful.
Strong emotions flared during the debate on both sides, with proponents arguing that educating a larger pool of residents ultimately benefits the state because they will have higher-paying jobs and contribute more to the tax base.
Sen. Paul G. Pinsky said the bill would give children the chance to “be more than part of the underground economy flipping burgers,” offering them the opportunity to become doctors, engineers and scientists.
“Why should we say: ‘You have to have a low end job for the rest of your life?’ " the Prince George’s County Democrat asked.
Sen. David Brinkley said the measure is unaffordable.
“The issue is not denying education to the individuals,” the Frederick County Republican said. “We disagree that the state has to pay for it.”
Ten other states grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition. Opponents said that passage would advertise Maryland as “sanctuary state," drawing more undocumented workers.