House Panel Approves Immigrant Tuition Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — House lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday to grant in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges to illegal immigrants if they complete two years at a community college and can show their parents paid state taxes for the three years before they enrolled.

The House Ways and Means Committee added a requirement that immigrants sign up for the Selective Service to receive the reduced tuition. It also changed the definition of an immigrant receiving the reduced tuition rate to count as a part of a school’s out-of-state student pool, so in-state slots for Maryland residents are unaffected.

Delegate Jay Walker, D-Prince George’s, recounted visiting Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticello, while trying to decide whether he would support the tuition proposal. He told lawmakers that Jefferson supported education for everyone, even his slaves.

“Who are we to stand in the way of education for people?” said Walker, who is black.

Lawmakers debated the measure for an hour, often recounting deeply personal stories about their families’ struggles trying to make it in America.

Republicans opposing the measure said their forbearers worked hard to succeed without seeking government help. Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-Frederick, whose grandfather was an Italian immigrant, said her family could not afford to put her through college — so she paid her own way.

“I didn’t expect anyone to pay for it,” she said.

House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, said his grandfather, who emigrated from India to upstate New York to work as a research scientist, faced discrimination throughout his life. His family had to stay with white families when they would travel in the 1920s because hotels would not rent rooms to dark-skinned people, he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re here legally or not, other people will make your life miserable,” he said.

The panel voted 14-7 to advance the bill. Delegate Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, did not vote because he said he could not decide whether the bill — which carries a multimillion dollar price tag for the state — should be approved while lawmakers are making deep cuts to the budget.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration, with less than a week left before lawmakers leave town. The Senate approved the bill a month ago.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. sheriffwillie says:

    What part of illegal do the legislators of our state do not understand. No means No! They are criminals!…Vote all these M…FR’s out when elections come around. Make their records on voting issues known public.

  2. Terry says:

    Same stupid idiots in Maryland politics – different day
    The word illegal is in the dictionary – I suggest you guys look up the definition

  3. Herman Glimsher says:

    IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO ME THAT ANY LAWMAKER WOULD EVEN CONSIDER THIS IN A TIME WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE BEING LAID-OFF AND CUTS ARE BEING MADE TO THE BUDGET…………..MAKE THE ILLEGALS PAY MORE THAN “OUT-OF-STATE” TUITION, AND USE THE LEFTOVER FUNDS TO HELP PRESERVE JOBS THAT ARE BEING CUT!!!!! ILLEGALS SHOULD HAVE TO PAY MORE THAN ANYONE!!!!!

  4. pigeon says:

    If you are illegal you are a criminal. Therefore, our wonderful lawmakers are telling us that CRIME DOES PAY (unless you are a citizen of the USA). Just shows to go ya!

  5. Mike says:

    Wow this is what happens when you elect idiots!!!! God Bless America! Make Mexico our 51st state so we can reclaim our losses and tax them to death, as which is done to us by idiots in office. Vote early ,Vote often make change that matters.

  6. Not going to take it says:

    Does anyone know if it is possible and if so, how would one go about filing a lawsuit agains the State of Maryland for this ridiculous bill? This is the kind of issue that should have been made available for voiting in Novermber, not snuck in behind our backs. I can guarantee that this bill would have NEVER made it! Wonder if CBS is going to delete this comment. They deleted my other one regarding Victor Ramirez.

  7. Baltimore bob says:

    Well hear we go again lets give all these mex free stuff I have a great idea ship there assss back or better yet just nuke mex and be done with it they stink they are not usa citiz the hell with all of them

  8. Debbie says:

    Maryland REMEMBER this vote when it comes tim for you to VOTE and vote against those who condone ILLEGAL activity and reward it.

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