In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants Sparks Debate

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Marylanders can decide online if they want to put in-state tuition for undocumented students up for a vote next year.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports a bill passed by the General Assembly this month is stirring controversy.

Chanting “Si, Se Puede” (“Yes, we can”), undocumented students moved lawmakers to break the barrier preventing them from taking advantage of the cheaper tuition rates afforded to students who are residents of Maryland.

“This is the last chance that I have before I go out to the real world and start working,” said Jaime Rivera.

But the bill is being challenged by lawmakers, who are asking voters to go online and sign a petition to put it on the ballot next year.

“And the way that they’re going to do it is by gathering signatures from their families and their neighbors,” said Delegate Neil Parrott.

Opponents of the bill call it unfair.

“At a time when Marylanders continue to struggle to pay their bills, their food bills, their gasoline bills…this state and this General Assembly is offering our taxpayer-provided benefits to people who are not even here legally,” said House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell.

But others continue to believe it’s the right thing to do.

“While I’m born in the U.S., I’m documented.  Most of my friends can’t go to college with me [because of the out-of-state tuition] and I feel that that’s ridiculous,” said one.

Petition organizers admit they have their work cut out for them.  They need 58,000 verified signatures by the end of June.

A spokesperson for Casa De Maryland, an immigrant outreach group, says they expect the attempt at referendum to fail.

More from Pat Warren
  • Robert Long

    This makes me sick. Because they are expecting handout’s. Nice way to show law breakers. Break the law and win a prize. That must be too good to become citizin’s the right legal way all the other hard working citizen’s have done to become a part of our country. They come over and there parent’s throw down an anchor and expect to get a free ride for the rest of there lives. It’s bad enough we have to support those anchor babies.

    They need to hurt up and pass that new law that makes anchor babies non citizens. To be a resident one parent has to be a valid citizen. They need to do this. And do it now. They are the cause for all our the current finance issues we have in america today. Every single state suffers from them. And it’s time to put this to a stop!



    • MEL

      I just don’t understand why they act like they cannot afford it. Nobody can it is called a loan step in line like everyone else. They are illegal who comes up with this stuff?

    • Old line Maryland family

      I submit that according to the Maryland Constitution any elected official that has taken the oath of office as written below is in violation of their oath by covertly or overtly refusing to uphold the laws of the State of Maryland. This includes refusing to enforce the laws of the State of Maryland and the United States. They are subject to removal from office.

      SEC. 9. Every person elected, or appointed, to any office of profit or trust, under this Constitution, or under the Laws, made pursuant thereto, shall, before he enters upon the duties of such office, take and subscribe the following oath, or affirmation: I, _______________, do swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and Laws thereof; and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of________________, according to the Constitution and Laws of this State, (and, if a Governor, Senator, Member of the House of Delegates, or Judge,) that I will not directly or indirectly, receive the profits or any part of the profits of any other office during the term of my acting as___________ (originally Article I, sec. 6, renumbered by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

      • Robert Long

        So we need to get these idiot law breaker and supporters out of office and now!. What about USA wide. What about the whole obama issue with him supporting illegal’s and making it easier for them to get handouts and trying to condemn states who put there foot down like AZ and sue and say its wrong and this and that. When in fact they are saving the US and there state billions of dollar’s!

      • Brian

        Maybe this needs to be sent to the Govenor and all who want to pass this law.
        Obviously the law makers don’t know the LAW.
        this makes a total mockery of these people who have gone through the legal process, (as I have) to live in the United States legally

  • sven

    Who made these laws robert? White westerners who stole this land from Native Americans, which BTW extends all the way down to the tip of
    south america.

    Whose land was this originally?

    • Bubbaliciousness

      Whose land was this originally? I don’t know — whoever the Indians took it away from probably.

      • Robert Long

        We took it from the dinosaur’s lol


    • Robert Long

      Hey. Im half native american. So when you say they stole the land. Part of me was born here. So yea.. And i dont work my butt off to send people who broke the law to college using tax money that i pay. I wanted to go to college but couldn’t pay for it. So how do you figure its ok for some kid whos breaking the law to go to school?

      • Sitting Bull Ish

        Robert if you are half Native American then your people receive the biggest handouts than anyone right now in AMerica so shut your trap.

      • Robert Long

        I am half polish also. My family entered this county legally about 200 year’s ago. And dont talk about handout’s. The native American’s where born here. They didnt get anything until about 75 year’s ago or such. The people who still lived together in reservation’s stuck together and they live till this day. and talk about handout’s Most native’s run’s casino’s lol and pour ton’s of money into tax’s. So how does this illegal immigrant battle turn into a raciest battle? Im guessing you are an illegal immigrant. I must have hit a sore spot =P And before you talk about my people remember there are not many of us left. And also me or anyone in my family never had any issues with money. My side that came over from poland has money. And my side that is native american had there own business and never needed anyone’s help or handout’s. they dont collect anything in welfare they handle there own. the only thing they ever got like i said was land. and it wasn’t even good land. but they made the best of it and let that be.

    • JoeFromAACounty


      • Tiffany Jones

        “If they were better fighters they wouldn’t have lost their land?” NO, if they were barbaric, gun toting, disease carrying, money hungry cancer cells of mankind than maybe they would’ve won and kept their land. And since America is giving out handouts now, where the hell is the reparations for the architects of the country for 400 + years of servitude and millions of lives lost in the process?

    • Get the Heck OUT

      sven, let me put in your language…I pick things up and put them down…you muscle head. These people are NOT paying taxes, are not equal to us and don’t have any rights to our priviledges and benefits. They have anchor babies and think they belong. If I were in office anchor babies and all would be deported back to their own Countries and let them take care of their own. Should you be reported to I.C.E as well? I’ve printed this Petition and already have over 80 signatures in 3 days. I’m only taking it to my Part Time job, but everyone I’ve talked to is TOTALLY AGAINST THIS! This should have been put on the Ballots along with the Slots issue. I will fight this bill to the very end. I don’t want these or anymore parasites in my State. People moan and complain about their taxes going up and if these illegals were paying taxes, other then buying cowboy boots and belt buckles to look good at the clubs, our State would not be in the position it is in. These people need to go home and take their lazy, uneducated children with them. WE DON’T WANT THEM HERE! Comprenda? Oh, and BTW, I am also half American Indian – Shawnee to be exact!

      • Robert Long

        Cherokee here =P

      • Proud of my Native Blood!

        Well put, Get the Heck OUT!! :) I agree with you to the fullest! Why should they get MY tax dollars to go to school, when they aren’t even here legally? Where is the logic in that? Whoever introduced this bill must be smoking something REAL good to think that it makes sense! By the way, I ALSO have Native blood running through my veins: Shawnee on my grandmother’s side and my Cherokee on my grandfathers side!! :)

      • GAMMEE07


    • Common Sense

      seriously? you want to go back in time to nulify the country we live in? Countries fight wars to defend and acuire land, such is history. But how can anybody seriously support giving a reward to someone who violates the law? Any politician who voted for this law should be tried for TREASON since they are supporting and encouraging illegal activity that violates the sovereignty of this nation.

      Coming to this country illegally and consuming resouces which you have not worked for is not a right, it’s theft. Those who support that concept should resign and/or be prosecuted.

  • ali

    Hear Hear Robert – My daughter who is graduating college this year and I pay her tuition without assistance from the state. We struggle to make those payments and will be paying the loans back also. Enough with this govenment not understanding ILLEGAL means ILLEGAL. Same with O’Malley who feels that it’s ok to give them housing and everything free when Marylanders foot the bill. This Government makes me sick and I hope all the people who put them in office get big time affected. I didn’t vote for him and never would. God help us when he goes to DC and you can bet he will go and the stupid people in Maryland will vote for him again.

    • fp

      100% agree wake up maryland the jerk you voted for is stupid cant you see that.

    • Sitting Bull Ish

      You daughter should of went to school in state instead of you exporting your money to some other state for tuition.

      That is if I understand you right.

      Because this bill is to have illegal immigrants who liv in MD already pay in state tuition. Not to receive any other so called handouts as you allege.

      • Robert Long

        Yup. You are a disgruntle illegal immigrant LOL. Awww are you worried about loosing your new free handout? and since you wanna pull race. I will say this much. I want to eat taco’s not send them to school ;)

        Aside from stepping down to your level for a second to just have a lil fun. Illegal immigrants do nothing but get handout’s and steal job’s and have kid’s and not speak english and they dont add anything but rack up bill’s to tax payer’s out of there pocket’s. Why dont you illegal’s just use a gun from now on? At least we would feel better knowing the face’s of the people who robbed us.

      • Robert Long

        Hey Janes. How about you go back to what ever country you are from. And sorry. I am full blooded american. Born and raised by parents who where also born and raised. Legal citizen if you ever seen one.

        And who wants to work at taco bell? How about teenagers for work experience? And people who want part time job’s just to make a little extra cash. Or old people who can work a part time job so they have something to do. Or American’s who did not finish school and thats all they can get?

        I blow the whistle on every single illegal i see. And every time i have called ICE. Guess what. 2 weeks later they are never seen again LOL. And i makes me feel great to know i did my country a service. So how about you keep that tongue of yours in its cage and take your illegal immigrant huggin self back to where ever you are from.

        Oh and the next time you want to run your finger’s on here. Make sure you pick the right side to start a battle ;) Not the loosing side. K-Thank’s bye ;)

    • How's this for fair?

      Picture this….. I show up at the financial aid office at my college to complete my paperwork for the student LOANS I am receiving (that I will pay back). Next to me is a girl who can’t speak engish with a kid on her hip. She’s wearing extremely nice clothes, Coach bag, large gold hoop earrings, hair and makeup done impeccably. Her son is wearing high end clothes and REAL timberland boots. She’s there to pick up her check for her PELL GRANT – yes, FREE MONEY. I follow her out to the parking lot where she gets into a brand new Camry (still had the window sticker on it). I get into my beat up ancient Ford Escort, wearing my payless shoes and Wal Mart clothes. I’m still paying my student loans off….

      • janes

        “Aside from stepping down to your level for a second to just have a lil fun. Illegal immigrants do nothing but get handout’s and steal job’s and have kid’s and not speak english and they dont add anything but rack up bill’s to tax payer’s out of …”
        STEALS jobs from who???? Since when americans wants to work at “TACO BELL” for $7 an hour lol or maybe built a house for $8 lol NOT US AMERICANS! So shut tha hall up you ignorant….You should disgrace to be an “american, i meant half american”

  • Hector luis gonzales martinez smith

    With a name like Sven I would expect nothing else.

  • sheriff

    Let’s get that petition online & distribute it to have all sign it. Time to s….t or get off the pot folks.

  • Robert Long

    I see it like this. These idiot law maker’s have done us a favor. They have done what no one else could. They got into office and did the dumbest thing’s possible and expected every one to sit by and let this stuff fly by and no one would have anything to say about it. But i do. And so does every one else. They made us get out of our chairs and say… No this is to far and now they got us all worked up. And now its time for them to pay the price. When it comes time for reelection they are done.

    We have enough issues with this state being poor. And the state having to make a new tax every month to pay for these illegal’s. They already passed a new drinking tax to pay for these kid’s to go to school. It’s bad enough that to send our own kid’s to school that illegal children get priority to school these day’s. They always take the illegal immigrant children 1st. So when did a legal child become second class? and also using existing tax money to send them to school in the 1st place. Pre-K all the way to high school. I hate that i will have to fight to get my daughter into Pre-K soon. I almost didnt get my son into school. If 3 more family’s had kid’s in the area we lived that where illegal’s he would have waited till Kindergarden!

    The people who side with thise they all say the same thing “Oh well they have to pay tax’s to be sent to school for at least 2 or so year’s.” Well guess what? The money they paid in tax’s for those year’s they still come up 30 grand plus short so where does this extra 30 grand come from? The tuition fairy you say? Oh so your people who agree with this sending illegal law breaker’s to college is ok? Then i got an idea. How about the people who are ok with it pay out of your pocket’s. Who ever dont sign the referendum to get this bill out of here will have a new 250 dollar a month tax or so for the average person’s income. And you guys can send every single illegal to college all you like. And of course that means the more illegal’s this attracts to maryland the more this tax goes up. It’s a magnet to them and they are in the process of moving to maryland because of the already unfair handout’s they get already!

    This is just the 1st step of many to give illegal’s even more rights in our state… and all across the USA…. This need’s to be stopped and stopped now! and we as legal citizen’s need to stand up and do something. Because we cant let this go on and keep letting these people think that it’s ok to break the law. You break the law and you get a free handout and cheaper college. Next is cheaper car payments and cheaper vacation’s for illegal’s to disney land and the Bahamas’ on a 14 day cruise line.. Its just sick!

    Every action has a reaction. You break the law you pay for it. You lie you get caught. A lie is a lie. A crime is a crime. There is no such thing as a ok crime. There parent’s broke the law and brought them into the country. If they are sad and upset and heart broken take it up with them. Because they broke the law and got away with it… The price they had to pay for breaking the law was not going to college. Or facing deportation. Thats that. I had nothing to do with them coming here…. i never said they could come over here. I never have liked the illegal’s coming to the US. And i already pay an arm and a leg for them to be here. Now they want half of our organ’s too. By the time they are done we will have nothing left.

    /rant off

  • Doug

    The hand outs won’t last for much longer.
    The country is headed over the falls.

    • Tiffany Jones

      I agree

  • Robert Long

    What happened happened and we are where we are. The bad and the good choice’s every one made brought us here. But it’s no excuse to keep up the bad choices and just keep rolling out the stupid law’s. Example. We cant use firework’s because some parent’s are to stupid to teach there kid’s proper firework safety to even handle them safe there self.

    Just because some idiot light’s an M-80 And decides at that current second to see what time it is before he throw is. Why should every one else suffer because of those idiots? It’s just like the immigrants. Why should all the family’s who truly need the state assistance and they dont get hardly anything at all because there is no money in the program because it all get’s paid out to illegal immigrants. It’s a dumb system and it need’s to be changed now and fast! because each state is said to spend 3 billion dollar’s a year sending illegal immigrant’s to school each year…. Thats half of the maryland school budget!!! we had 5.7 billion this year to send all the kid’s to school. And we still fell short. Why? Take a guess.. And its said that each state spends about 10.4 billion per year on welfare. And its said that over 7.8 billion of that just for anchor babies and illegal immigrants. That means welfare amount’s would be 2x higher then they are now. or could go 25% higher and tax the state less. Or even stay where they are and cut the tax’s out of our pockets in half or more!

    So why do idiot’s love to support illegal’s and anchor babies? Why not pass a law to pay for them out of pocket family per family. Support an immigrant program. I bet you there would hardly be any illegals left in the country after they cut off there welfare and housing and medical. It really makes me angry to see how our state and the US just lets this slide…. They cost over half a trillion dollar’s a year in free handout’s. So why not put a stop to this?????

  • what's next

    I do not think illegal citizens that enter this country and bypass the legal system instead of becoming a US citizen. I know of a young lady who started her education at Towson University while living here. She married a United States Naval office and lived briefly in Virginia until he went on a tour of duty for a year. The women returned to Maryland to live near her family. She signed up for courses at Towson University and was told she had to pay out of state tuition rate. So, we have a military wife has to pay more tuition but the illegal aliens get a break. The husband is serving in the Navy for his country but she pays out of state tuition. Something wrong with this.

    • Robert Long

      Yea. It’s sick. They might as well run the country. Or they should just save time and put a welcome sign on the board welcoming them to the USA. And give each family a check for 250,000 dollar’s of tax money and a 7 year degree of there choice all paid with tax payer money of course. And change the law and make speaking english a crime punishable by death. Thats whats coming next. Well the only thing i can think of.

  • Lynn

    Now is the time for all of you BIG MOUTH BLOWHARDS to do something. SIGN THIS PETITION. Honestly, Every single DUMBOCRAT who voted for this bill should be made an example of. VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN OR INDEPENDENT NEXT TIME. TOO MANY DUMBOCRATS IN ANNAPOLIS..the power is imbalanced and it is STUPID. And, I am NO fan of the Repuklicans either. BUT,
    the dumbocrats have crossed the line. HOW do you vote for priveleges for ppl who are here ILlegally yet deny those citizens rights (gay americans)…HOW IN THE “F”…Sign the petition

    • Robert Long

      I already signed it the second i heard it was up ;) so i just cant wait until it is over turned and ripped to pieces ;)

  • Lynn

    HAVE ANY OF YOU SIGNED THE PETITION???? Stop flapping your gums and SIGN the petition. It can be located on

    • Get the Heck OUT

      See my post above. I have printed it and have received over 80 signatures in two days!

    • Anita Svrjcek Rogers

      Thank you for the link to the petition Lynn. I am definitely going to print it out and get it signed. By the way, I am a Democrat and I DO NOT believe in giving illegal immigrants’ children the in-state tuition. I have a 16 yr old and have no clue how I am going to afford to pay for his college — it seems my hubby and I, though struggling with day to day living expenses, make too much money for any type of State assistance — heck when I was only receiving unemployment [now employed full time] and child support, I still made too much money on my own to get any type of State Assistance, i.e. The Fuel Fund assistance, food, etc. and I was born & raised in this Country as well as my parents.

      • Bernadette Z

        Anita, you are so RIGHT!!!! Why should we keep paying for these people who broke the laws to get here and now we are stuck paying for them for LIFE….Let’s work together as CITIZENS not parties to OVERTURN THIS CRIMINAL LAW….

    • sheriff

      Lynn, Thanks for the information, I downloaded it, signed it & mailed it off.

    • GAMMEE07


    • GAMMEE07


  • Robert Long

    Yea. And this is for people who get lost lol. The direct link. GET BUSY AND SIGN THIS THING!!!!!! =)

  • LadyD

    Last time I checked, education wasn’t actually an enumerated right. And by the way, we pay for our tuition and if you are not a legal resident of MD then you should have to pay the same as any other non-resident person attending our schools. I agree with a lot of folks on here – you don’t reward bad behavior (coming in and staying here illegally), you don’t give handouts to people who don’t have a hand in (if you don’t pay taxes then you should not be eligible for tax paid benefits), and it’s time for this government to back off and listen to the people rather than trying to mold the country to what their IDEAL of our country is.
    And technically the Constitution never intended to allow anchor babies – if you read the amendment it actually says if they are born here and subject to the jurisdiction — which foreigners (as illegals are) would not be — then they are a citizen. Of course, you can’t convince any one to read the stuff any more. We need to start enforcing laws and making sure that people are following them. That is a step in the right direction

    • Robert Long

      I agree to a point. But it’s like this. It’s all based on a start in breaking a crime. The whole time no matter how much good you try and do. At the end of the day you are still breaking the law. Say a guy kill’s a bunch of kid’s about 20 year’s ago. Never get’s caught.

      He is still on the run. So he decides to play ball and not kill any more kid’s and live like a normal person. Starts over and such. Do you think he is right? I know you guys never killed anyone directly. But the % of illegal immigrant’s that pay tax’s vs the % that dont pay tax’s is a huge difference. you guys who pay tax’s still dont even come close. About 37% of the balance that illegal’s rack up each year is paid back. So as you see everything you guys do is still coming out of our pocket’s in the end.

      Just because it’s less money then it could be does not make it right. It’s all from illegal crime breaking immigrants who are here illegally. If you decide to rob someone of half the money in there wallet and not all there money does not make that person feel any better. And it does not make it ok to do. You see what i am saying? Just like a relationship with a person that was based on a huge lie at the start. It’s cursed from the start. I could go on and on about this… But the point is that no matter how much in tax’s you guys pay… Its still that you are all here illegally and if you want me or anyone else’s blessing’s. Then do the right thing like everyone else who worked hard to become a legal part of this country!. And become a legal citizen. Then you know what. Enjoy anything you want. Until then i still think they should all be deported.

    • citizen

      Agreed. Let these individuals start the process of obtaining citizenship and THEN they can pay the in-state tuition.

  • pigeon

    Sure immigrants have a right to education too. In the country where they are citizens. Illegal immigrants have NO rights except being jailed or returned to their mother land. I’ve paid taxes all my life and I’m paying tax on money that I already paid taxes on (i.e. tax refunds); no double jeopardy in crime but double taxation by the State. I’m raising a grandson whom I would love to sent to college but I can’t afford it and, believe it or not, being 70, retired, on SS, I make too damn much money. Now, think about that! If you are illegal you are a criminal. Plain and simple (like the people we put in gov’t. offices).
    Stop your bellyaching, become a citizens, work, pay taxes and then put yourself through school/college.

  • Jack

    They should learn how to spell immigrants before making a poster.

  • Steve

    Where is the petition? I’ll sign it.

  • CM

    When illegal immigrants start serving our military and earn the title “Legal citizen” then and only then should they be allowed to attend our colleges. They don’t pay taxes, they already get free medical care AND they have come in and swooped up jobs from under law abiding citizens. It’s not about race- I’d expect the same in ANY country. I paid a lot of money to go to college, I didn’t get any breaks. I pay taxes, I pay for medical care… wanna talk about rights then let’s keep it fair.

  • John

    I don”t think Illegal Immigrants should be rewarded. Most Illegal Immigrants are working here with false social security numbers . The reason the government isn’t doing nothing about this they make to much money in their tax revenue . The Illegal immigrants don”t file taxes because they are illegal. and in return the US government keeps their tax money return. The US government are both responsible republicans and democrats are responsible. Because they are not doing a dam thing about illegal immigrants!

  • Local

    The Gov is breaking the law by harboring fugitives,but letting this happen. He should be locked up!

  • Erinn

    I do truly believe that everyone should have the right to an education, but not if you are here illegally. Everyday people take the necessary steps to become a legal resident and/or citizen here. It does not make logical sense that you allow a person who by law is in the United States illegally to receive an education and/or any other benefits for that matter. If nothing else it is a slap in the face to those that have taken the steps to be in this country legally. If you are an ILLEGAL immigrant, then you have no rights.

  • whatnow

    Illegal immigrants demanding their right to in-state tuition with a sign with a mispelling and chanting “Si, Se Puede”. What, that can’t speak English. This is all our fault. It started about 20 years ago when every sign and every grocery item starting showing up with spanish on it. I railed against it then and everyone said I was a hater (the word everyone uses when they don’t have an intelligent argument). This has become the US of Mexico. I can’t walk 10 feet without hearing spanish. What happened to the US of America?????

  • Dale

    We all need to stay on task. This is simply a way for OMaiiey and others to
    try to gain support of illegal immigrants and their families. For political reasons only. With the current budget crisis in MD it IS rediculous to give illegals any
    benefits whatsoever when it is only going to come out of our childrens
    pockets. A point to remember is that even if in state tuition is voted in, illegal
    immigrants are just that; illegal and are still subject to deportation whether
    they are eligible for tuition benefits or not. This is why we all need to become more pro-active and report illegals to the local Govt. and demand their deportation immediately. It is a fact that BILLIONS of dollars leaves our economy
    every year from illegals making money here and sending it out of the country,
    never to be recirculated here again.DONT SIT SILENT STAND UP AND BE HEARD.

  • T

    Has anyone noticed that the supposed immigrant holding the sign in the picture mispelled “immigrant?”

    Doesn’t make me feel like supporting this at all when one of them can’t even correctly spell what they are. Not that i was ever supporting it. I WILL, however, support their efforts to become legal citizens.

    • Wendy

      saw that
      and I agree – I support the LEGAL efforts

  • Guest2

    I will vote to put it on the petition and vote no to give the tuition to the illegals. If the parents came here illegally, the children are illegal also. The Immigration laws are not being enforced. I feel sorry for the children of illegals, but not to the point of giving them things that our own legal citizens can’t get. I will vote no when it comes up on the ballot. They have no rights and the Maryland Legislature and the Governor have done a great injustice to the People of the State of Maryland. The government of Maryland is also in error in giving out 4 Billion dollars to the illegals in the State of Maryland. That money belongs to the legal citizens of the State of Maryland and he gave it away to people that are not intitled to it. As far as I am concerned, Casa de Maryland is an illegal organization. The legal Hispanic citizens should be jumping up and down and hollering that the illegals are giving them a bad name.

  • Jeff Werner

    In the words of Willie Don Schaefer, I would have signed the petition.

    • sheriff

      Jeff, In the words of “Willie Don Schaefer”: Speak english when talking to me”. From an experience when W.D.S. was ordering food at a restaurant a number of years back.

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