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May 20, 2011

Bipartisan interest in immigrant tuition repeal, petitioners say

With about 10 days to go until a critical first deadline on an effort to repeal in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, organizers say they've seen bipartisan support for the effort, reporting that Democrats account for about one-quarter of the people who have downloaded the petition online.

Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican who is leading the signature drive, has not said how close petitioners are to the 18,500 signatures required by May 31. Today he said the effort is "on track," while acknowledging it "needs a surge" to meet his goal of 35,000 signatures to hand over to the State Board of Elections.

Parrott is seeking the higher number of signatures because strict petition requirements mean the board ends up tossing as much as one-third of them for technical reasons, including a signer's name not matching his or her voter registration information.

Aside from assurances from Parrott and other organizers that the petition drive is going well, there's no real way of knowing how close they are. Parrott said petitioners will be collecting names at Preakness tomorrow, and they've hit numerous local festivals and community meetings across the state.

Casa de Maryland this week held its own event, featuring Lt. Giv. Anthony Brown, to discuss the merits of the tuition measure.

If the board determines petitioners have met the 18,000-signature benchmark, they can continue collecting. The full petition -- containing more than 55,000 signatures -- would then be due by the end of June.

Parrott said he is encouraged by what he said is the bipartisan interest in the repeal.

"Marylanders across the state and across political boundaries understand that this bill costs too much, and that rather than enforcing our immigration laws, it encourages violations of federal immigration laws in our state," Parrott said in a statement. "Marylanders understand that overturning this bill is just a matter of common sense."

Democrats also are helping to circulate the petition. Sen. Jim Brochin of Baltimore County said he has helped constituents sign up, and his insurance office employees also wanted petitions to circulate.

The petition drive kicked off in earnest about a month ago, with the launch of

Lawmakers this year voted to give undocumented students who have attended at least three years of Maryland high school and whose parents pay taxes access to in-state tuition, rather than charging the far higher out-of-state rates. Advocates argued that it is in the state's economic interest to help qualified Marylanders, even if they are here illegally, continue their education.

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the bill about a week ago, and it is slated to take effect July 1. A successful petition drive would halt the bill, putting it in limbo until Maryland voters get a chance to weigh in at the polls in November 2012. 

Talking Points Corner: 
To read Casa's take on the in-state tuition legislation, check out the group's website.
And here's what opponents have to say over at

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 3:42 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Immigration


We are all immigrants. I really resent the animus toward these kids, who all here, and are not going anywhere. They are just like your kids. Shame on you, and your narrow, mean spirited, warped sense of entitlement. My family has been here for a few hundred years-- we came as immigrants,

To say that there is bipartisan support only means that there are a number of citizens who do not really understand this bill, or who we are as Americans. Ignorance of our history crosses party lines. The attitude is patently UN- American

That petition/recall effort won't go anywhere, and most of us know it. Even if they get an adequate number of signatures (which is doubtful, at best), these petitions are rarely, if ever, successful if put to a vote...especially in this case, since most of us recognize the value of higher education for as many Maryland children as are willing to work for it.

Carl, I signed the petition, and I'm certain that my view is not un-American. As a matter of fact, my view is hugely American in the sense that bringing the issue to the voters is the very definition of democracy. What's wrong with the voters deciding whether they support the bill? The petition is not about the issue of in-state tuition for illegal aliens; it's about whether you want the voters of Maryland to vote on the issue. Voting is American.

Hey, Carl.....if you want to spend your money paying for illegal aliens to attend Maryland colleges, then go ahead. No one is stopping you from starting a fund for these kids. But don't force ME to pay for it.

I wonder how hard working African American families feel knowing that an African American Lt. Governor is supporting a law that will guarentee that some African American kids with be excluded from college. And that their place will be taken by kids that don't even belong in the country! The "pretty boy" Governor has no concept of the outrage this has caused!

Wow, Carl, you are so open-minded as to critique those with whom you disagree by writing a hate-filled screed. The irony think that people opposed to in-state tuition for illegal aliens are haters, while at the same time you hate people who disagree with you. You claim to have the high moral ground in supporting the bill, but how moral are you to attack other people's views by trying to shame them and claim they are un-American? I'm wondering if you are capable of formulating an argument that disagrees with opposing views or is name-calling and finger-pointing your only skill? I don't hate you for wanting illegal aliens to get in-state tuition.....I DISAGREE with you. And I can tell you why I don't think illegal aliens should be eligible for in-state tuition. But the issue isn't worth hate or shame or accusations -- it's just a political issue, not the end of the world.

Carl, Thanks for your point of view. Having said that I'll be at your front door by 10:00 tonight with my extended family. I expect food in the fridge, their rooms ready and your lazyboy ready for my young son. Oh, he's interested in going to the U of M. Make sure your check book is out and ready.

The petition drive picked up after it was discovered that the governor passed a bill to take money away from high school kids who qualified to go to college. Reason for the governor taking this money away is the cost one million dollars. Cost to give the in state tuition to illegals eight million dollars. Most folks signing the petition are just good at math and not hate mongers.

I'm having a difficult time believing this bill is in the interest of Maryland. Immigrants who are here illegally are ILLEGAL! Why is the legislature rewarding someone for breaking the law in the first place?
While I'm supportive of providing people with a little help in order to get themselves established, I'm not in favor of displacing Maryland citizens who are legal residents, have paid their dues, and are deserving of what our University system offers. I wholeheartedly support the petition to repeal!

For those of you who say that we are all immigrants, okay, fine and dandy, my family are original marylanders from england in 1635, yes, I am a Calvert, and they would hate this bill. Any bill that takes from my child, a legal citizen to benefit someone here who is illegal, and who we already have to fund their k thru 12 education, and we are not legally bound to pay for their college assistance, what part of illegal do you not understand. I feel no pity for the children, their parents broke the law coming here and they have to accept that fact that their children will never get a job in the work place even if they did get a college degree, they are still illegal, period, get over it illegals, and go home and stop stealing my tax dollars. My child comes first, yours is last in line being illegal.

Not only is this law forcing taxpayers to pay for tuition for illegal aliens, but the law states they only have to FILE income taxes, not necessarily PAY any, as the media keep incorrectly stating. These are not children, they are 18 and over adults, which means they are now adult illegal immigrants who are following in their parents footsteps in breaking our nation's laws. Yes, Carl, we were almost all decended from immigrants, but they were LEGAL immigrants. The ignorance is on your part.

Chris Rogers, your statements are false. While it is true that getting petitions to referendum is rare because the rules are so stacked against the people, the ones that are successful in getting on the ballot are usually passed. It is a shame our monopolistic legislature has forced the people to defend our immigration laws through such hardship as this petition drive. It requires hours and hours a volunteer labor.

The media has muddied the terms "Immigrant" and "ILLEGAL" (Invader). Immigrants, who work within our laws, regardless of their Country of origin, make a LEGAL effort to assimilate and become citizens. An ILLEGAL is nothing more than a squatter who believes that they are "entitled" to what we, the citizens, have paid for and worked for.

The issue here is allowing an ILLEGAL preference over an out of State American citizen who wants to be educated in a Maryland college. What of those AMERICAN students from our border States? Virginia? Delaware? Why would we allow an ILLEGAL (aka: law breaker) preference over our law abiding neighboring students in those States?

Why would anything think that Maryland taxpayers are willing to foot the bill for lawbreakers to be able to bump Americans out of the classroom in order to educate people that aren't even supposed to be here in the first place?

Yes. I signed the Petition. I got others to sign as well. This weekend I will be out getting more signatures. Shame on our so-called "Representatives" for even thinking that this was a good idea.

I strongly resent the fact that the media keeps trying to make it look like people are opposing tuition help for LEGAL immigrants. Most people that I know that are against this bill have no problem with financial help for people that actually belong in the state, they just don't want to give help to people that are breaking the law every day they are in MD, especially when 0'Malley is raising all our taxes to cover budget 'shortfalls' already? Is the money going to come from even more taxes in what is already the 6th highest taxed citizenry in the union?

I am a 38 year democrat and I consider myself an American from an immigrant ancestors. I do not consider myself unamerican because I am against the Dream act that is no dream to our citizens and taxpayers. Here in md we pay $1billion a year to educate the children of illegal aliens. Another $1billion for incarcerations/welfare fraud and so on.. These are not my ancestor immigrants who would not have a family until they could afford a family and not rely on welfare from citizens to support them. The illegals average 5 or more kids while american citizens is 2. They cross our borders and immediately get on our welfare systems using fake and stolen ids and work our jobs. We have been supporting their kids from day one through 12th grade and now we are unamerican if we don't want to? BS.. Your taking money out of my pocket while I have family members who can't find work and losing their homes because an illegal took their job. In Md we are the 4th highest taxed state in the country. Their are 366 12th graders registered for fall classes in montgomery community college. That is one school? They will be coming from all over the east coast to attend our colleges.. Will their be room for our kids? We gained 15,000 illegal aliens in montgomery county last year. And thousands more in other counties. We are busted.. Taxpayers are being choked by illegal aliens. They are criminals and stop feasting on our $$.. They steal, cheat while we raise their kids. Enough already.!! Sign the petition and vote NO for the Dream thats a nightmare to taxpayers..

Ann, congratulations you are one of the few people in Md. who seem to understand the big lie that is being told to Maryland taxpayers: illegal aliens pay their fair share of taxes. While it is true that a minority of illegal aliens file federal and state returns - they use a TIN (taxpayer Identification number) they are not legally entitled to, or commit a felony and use someones SS# - they also get tax refunds that can equal or surpass the amount of taxes that were withheld. Illegal aliens are not in high income tax brackets and claim the marriage and child deductions - the IRS doesn't check immigration status, it just does the math - so for some of them "paying taxes" is actually a money making process. We should all be so lucky. This is why every city in America that has an illegal alien problem also has a revenue problem.
I don't see any of the pro in-state tuition crowd addressing the costs Md. incurs because of the student's illegal alien parents, siblings and relatives. Who pays for the ER visits, public school and maternity care? They want everyone to believe all these students will graduate medical school and their incomes will offset the costs of caring for their family, relatives and friends. Try telling that to the citizens in Miami, Phoenix, Los Angeles....
The Los Angeles Times, spanish radio and TV are reporting this story, so get ready for lots of new visitors who don't speak english and don't pay taxes.

Hampstead will have 3 booths for petitions tomorrow saturday 8am to 4pm. Stop by and sign yours. Bring your voting neighbors, family and friends.

I real have animus to anyone that supports lawbreakers. The fact that all of these kids are smart enough to get into college, yet don't have the conscience to go back to their lands of origin, proves they do not deserve citizenship, much less me subsidizing their college education under this bill.

This is the pathetic state of this country and this state specifically. People want to excuse away criminal and illegaal behavior, and further want me to pay for it, and deny the VERY SAME ACCESS to higher education to legal Maryland residents. Thats how twisted people like Carl are.

Great point Ann and LAGuy -- forcing illegal aliens to file tax returns will only result in a refund for them - nearly half of LEGAL Americans pay no federal taxes already. But if you really want your blood to boil, well here you go: many children of parents serving our country in the Armed Forces are required to pay out-of-state tuition!!!! In my own situation, my father was career military (Vietnam vet) and although we lived for years in MD while he was stationed at the Pentagon in D.C., me and my several siblings were required to pay out-of-state tuition. I actually enlisted myself just to be able to go to college. No regrets in that decision, but how many of these illegal aliens, who are increasingly refusing to assimilate into our culture, would serve our country for the opportunity to attend college? My guess is not many. More likely their desire is "Reconquista" for Mexico (Google it ).

This is pure politics -- the Dems hope to garner votes at the expense of taxpayers, and with absolute contempt for those who serve our country. If we had any sense, we would vote those tyrants out of office.

The "law" may actually read "pay taxes", but as has been pointed out previously, the only requirement, from my understanding, is that they file a tax return. We've already seen that scholarships have been withdrawn from "legal immigrants" who've had 4.0 QPAs and whose parents actually PAY taxes because the State doesn't have enough money. Let's keep voting those Dems into office though, shall we?

There are many who are taking signatures at the Preakness today for the petition, if you are going, be sure to sign before you indulge to much. lol.

Taxes collected from undocumented persons in Md. 102 million. Cost in services provided by Md. 1.5 billion excluding the negative impact of illegally earned money sent south of the border. It is illegal to hire an unauthorized alien. Why would anyone want to educate an illegal when there are few jobs for law abiding citizens and even fewer future jobs according to many economists. As petition coordinator I can report wide across the board support. White, black, democrat and republican voters are equally ready to the sign the petition. Most everyone knows what illegal means. And by the way I can think of no reason to fight against Maryland voters voting on this important issue to all. Loin the effort and sign up for democracy.

This Dream act is no dang dream to taxpayers. Their parents are illegal and have scammed tax payers by getting welfare for their 5+ kids and working our jobs. Let them pay for their 18 year old children. Maryland taxpayers pays estimated $1billion every year to support the kids from kindergarten to grade 12. Isn't that enough? Can my kids go to va tech and get instate tuition? Can they go to mexico or wherever and be supported with welfare, drivers license, jobs, housing, food stamps and vote? In this corrupt sanctuary state of md they entice illegals and support casa de md with our tax $$.. Check it out. They go to annapolis every year asking for more. Casa de md's kim propreak *the racist illiterate* knows casa de md takes mega bucks from their communist friend Hugo Chavez, the illegal immigrants and tax payers and Casa has enough $$ to pay for these kids that they take $$ from. Let them pay for their instate tuition and let taxpayers take a break from this bs. Our families are losing their homes because illegal criminals feast off our system and work jobs meant for americans. I'm also sick of hearing they pay taxes. They might pay a portion but every one of them claim many many dependants. They pay very little. They come to our country poor as hell and have babies for $$. OUr $$.. thieves..FYI I am a democrat and have signed the petition.. Corrupt omalley loves his new americans who vote. Let him pay for them not us!!

What don't you get about ILLEGAL. Watch Locked Up Abroad and see what happens to U.S. who break the law. They don't get food stamps, welfare and free schooling, they go to jail.
I don't care if it's not the kids fault that their parents broke the law - it's not MY fault either. I'm sick of paying for felons to live in MY state. Let them go home and leave us alone.

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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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