Delegate to challenge in-state tuition measure
Freshman Delegate Neil Parrott, one of the few Maryland elected officials who rode the tea party wave to victory last fall, is organizing an effort to petition the measure to referendum. If his efforts are successful, the bill would appear on the 2012 ballot and tuition breaks would be postponed until the voters determine whether the law should be put on the books.
"There is a lot of angst with this bill in the public," said Parrott, a Washington County Republican. "The more people think about it, the more they get upset about it."
The measure passed both houses on the final day of session.
It would allow illegal immigrants pay in-state or in-county tuition at Maryland's colleges and universities. To qualify, students would have to attend Maryland high schools for three years and show that they or their parents paid taxes. Students would have to start at community colleges, but could transfer to four year universities after two years.
The bill is expected to cost $3.5 million by 2016, though opponents believe the cost could be much higher.
Parrott does not anticipate receiving money or organizational help from national groups. "People are going to go to their neighbors to get signatures," he said. Over the next week or so he expects to announce a website and a state-wide organization.
Separately, Del. Pat McDonough, a long-time opponent to extending rights to illegal immigrants, plans to bring a lawsuit alleging that the new Maryland provision would violate federal law.
“Maryland has become a Disneyland for illegal immigrants, providing attractions and free rides and is costing taxpayers billions of dollars," McDonough said in a news release.