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O’Malley Signs Immigrant Tuition Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland will soon allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. It’s one of hundreds of bills signed into law by the governor.

Pat Warren has more on the support and opposition to the idea.

Governor Martin O’Malley always has the option of doing nothing and allowing a bill to automatically become law. But choosing to sign the Dream Act sends the message that he supports this highly controversial bill.

Immigrant students packed the State House Tuesday to witness the day the state recognized them as residents to allow them to pay cheaper college tuition.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for the longest time, and it’s finally here,” Lorena Chabarro said.

In the face of a petition drive to put the issue to the voters, O’Malley put his name on the Dream Act.

“This will allow us to have a more highly-educated workforce in our state, which is good for all of us,” O’Malley said.

“I’ve been waiting for this a lot because everybody quits schools because they can’t afford it because international rates are really high, so we were waiting for tuition rates so we could go to college,” said Chabarro. “I can’t wait. I’m really excited.”

But there were some loudly voiced objections.

“The state has to make up that money, and they’re going to make it up on the backs of the people of Maryland,” said Del. Mike McDermott, (R). “There’s no other place for it to come.”

Even as supporters take pictures, a petition drive is underway to force the issue to the ballot in next year’s general election.

“This issue of illegal immigrants getting in-state tuition is bad policy,” said one opponent. “It’s bad for the legal citizens, and I think at a time when education truly is important these individuals need to pursue citizenship then the education and the taxpayers paying for that can be a benefit.”

But for now at least, immigrant students and their supporters are satisfied that they’ve won the day.

The law takes effect in July, unless the petition drive stops it.

Opponents have until May 31 to submit one-third of the 55,700 signatures needed to put the measure on next year’s ballot. The rest are due June 30.

The bill is set to take effect June 30.

More from Pat Warren
  • sheriff

    This bill will be repealed just like OMalley’s political career, the wise guy only cares about votes & numbers, nothing about hardships on god fearing tax paying citizens who have to finance this & other give aways.

  • cris

    omalley sucks

  • Dinger

    Where do we sign the petition?

    • Can't Fix Stupid

      Please help us repeal this stupid bill. This may just be the breaking point for Mr. O’Malleys’ career.

    • guest

      sign the petition at

    • Deanna

      I’m with you, where do I sign?

  • Can't Fix Stupid

    Bye! Bye! O’Malley! Take Ramirez with you please!

  • whatnow

    I already signed and mailed my petition. Everyone who is against this needs to get on board and not just talk about it. I saw on the news this morning that Obama is getting read to turn his attention to the imigrant problem because “he needs the hispanic vote”. Word for word, that is what they said. Fight back now or enroll in a spanish class.

  • Guest2

    What’s he going to do when the petition get the correct number of votes to be put on the ballot and the voters make them repeal this awful bill.. He is an attorney. He knows that the illegals are being given something that they are not entitiled to. When the bill is repealed, perhaps a bill of impeachment for him and disbarment as an attorney? Jan Brewer is all set to go the the Supreme Court over the immigration. What’s he going to do when her bill is declared constitutional?

    • Can't Fix Stupid

      I really hope she wins! Finally a politician with some! How is Obama Bin Laden supposed to get the Hispanic vote? Are illegals allowed to vote as well?

      • whatnow

        He wants to waive all of the requirements and make all of the illegals legal .

    • sheriff

      Under constitutional (state) law, OMalley can’t be impeached. The bill can & will be repealed if put to the voters on a ballot referendum. We need to send a message to law makers that we the people not the special interests groups run the state.

  • janet spink

    i agree with everyone. Why is our government always setting a race profile. No one bill should be about any race. The bill’s and law’s should be for every american. If they are paying taxes in our state it should be automatic for everyone. Not just a certain race. A legal familly in Maryland that pays taxes can’t get the help illegals do. Why is that. Dah?

  • guest

    Fill in your info., print the form, sign it and mail it.

  • brianczaw

    So if I live a half mile across PA line in Delta, PA(and spend alot of money in MD), I have to pay out of state. If I sneak across USA borders and then into MD I can go to collect for in-state tuition. Wow, that makes a lot of sense……

    • sheriff

      Brian, Yep, just as sure as there’s s…..t in a goose.

  • Billiam

    If you don’t like the bill, print and sign the petition. If you don’t care, then don’t complain about how this is affecting you, because if really bothered you, you would sign it and send it in. C’mon people – tell our fearless governor that you have had enough.

  • Can't Fix Stupid

    I just sent in approximately 90 signatures that I’ve collected!

    Obama needs to go along with O’Malley and Ramirez!

  • What?

    There were people on the boardwalk in Ocean City this weekend with petitions for quite a few counties on the western side of the bridge. We signed ours there. They were also wearing No Casa stickers. I thought it was genius of them to be out on SpringFest weekend doing this.

  • Janet Keith

    I don’t quite understand the “educated workforce” statement being used to back up his position. If these are illegals being educated, they are still illegals. Illegals cannot work legally in Maryland (can they?), so exactly how DO they help us? I have signed my petition as well. I wish there were a petition to repeal O’Malley. As usual, the highly educated and intelligent, as well as those with common-sense are still outnumbered in Maryland (it’s quite obvious given that O’Malley is still in office)….. I beg thee intelligent to bear children and educate them …

  • pigeon

    I hope his fingers fall off and he gets a flat tire going home through a “little MEXICO” neighborhood! Let’s see how much they like or even care about him! I know this will not pass censorship, but at least I got to say what I wanted!

  • Janet Keith

    I suppose O’Malley feels that when and if the Dream Act is passed, he will be held in high esteem for having set up illegals to immediately qualify for legal residency…and, in turn, O’Malley will get the Hispanic vote (which is HIGH) for his future plans to run for presidency.

    “Obama did back the Dream Act, legislation that would offer some young illegal immigrants a path to legal residency by going to college or serving the U.S. military, but an attempt to pass the legislation was blocked in Senate during the lame-duck session.”

  • Steve

    This bill clearly changes the political scenery in Maryland. Did any of the people that supported this bill see the polls. 90% AGAINST!! I have to assume they are tried of being in office. **** GET RID OF THEM ALL *****

    • maryland tax payer

      OMG, who do the politicians represent? We need to blame ourselves and sign the petion, we have to keep an eye on these guys forever after.



  • ShadowDancer

    in another interview:
    We have a constitutional obligation to provide a public education for every child in our state,” the governor wrote. “But we should not allow our nation’s broken immigration system to serve as an excuse to escape our basic, moral obligation to expand opportunity for all Marylanders, provided they graduated from a Maryland high school, pay taxes in our state, and are on a path toward citizenship.”
    Wrong! You have a constitutional obligation for the CITIZENS of the state to receive BASIC tuition. That does not include paying for their college and that does NOT include illegal aliens (they are not immigrants, they are alien invaders and should be treated as such, not coddled.).
    O’Malley may be the first since Agnew to be seen as a criminal in the eyes of the voters.
    Tougher gun laws? Why not just enforce the ridiculously draconian laws you have put in place. Like most people say, you are only protecting the criminals in Maryland by making more and more gun laws. They won’t care about more laws, only the law abiding citizens will.

    • w. sCHAEFER

      NO MORE

  • Turtle

    Haha…this punk ia a CLONE of obama!!! A fake/fraud/liar!!! What about the rights of our OWN people????????? The REAL AMERICANS!!!!!!!!! I’m tired of EVERYTHING being about “certain” racial groups and illegals.The only important things in this country are,blacks and illegals.

    • Jerry

      He don’t give a damn. All he cares about is what makes him look good.

  • Debbie

    The citizens of Maryland will prevail. Sign the petition and overturn this bill

  • mike

    Barack O’Malley and his brother Obama are ruining this state. It is time to get rid of all the including Hoyer and the rest of the Md. yes men on Capitol Hill and quit sucking on the tit of the federal government. It is time for state rights to be practice or they all forgot we have more rights or are we the Peoples Republic of Maryland

  • ashley

    I can’t get a cheap college education, but someone who pays NO taxes can???

  • Steve


  • Lola

    IMPEACH OBALLEY!!!!!!!!!

    • pigeon

      The law doesn’t allow it!

  • Jeff

    I can tell some people didn’t read the article. You have to or your parents have to be paying STATE INCOME TAXES as a requirement. The same is true for anybody in MD. Whatever state you pay income taxes in, is where you get in-state tuition. The whole tax thing shouldn’t be part of the issue. The issue is whether or not illegal citizens should have access to our public colleges even though they are not citizens. That’s the real debate and everyone is entitled to their opinion on it. The tax comments don’t apply as they have to pay State income tax to qualify. The same tax that allows us to get in-state tuition. The real issue is whether we have a moral obligation to educate people here illegally. Most people in this country originated from immigrants looking for a better life back in the day. Put yourself in their shoes.

    • whatnow

      Maybe you need to do some re-reading yourself Jeff. It doesn’t say the students had to pay taxes, its say a parent or LEGAL GUARDIAN. You got people marrying illegals to get them a green card for money, how much money do you think it would take for someone to be an illegal’s Legal Guardian. Then they get the in-state break. Yes, we all hail from immigrants. Immigrants who came through Ellis Island legally. Not criminals who slide across the border. Besides, this country is full. Do you know what the unemployment rate is? Where are we supposed to but these MILLIONS that are coming every year????

      • Rene

        You can’t get a green card though marriage this easy, this is a punch line myth. There are 3-5 year delays and up to 4 years of minimal wage as bond. I am a legal immigrant and i know the forms and did them all legally.

    • gobnait

      No Jeff, put yourself in the shoes of the US citizen students who are priced out of an education now available to ILLEGALS. Put yourself in the shoes of people like my husband and his large family who emigrated LEGALLY to our country and eventually became proud American citizens. What sage exhortation do you have for them to assuage their outrage at the inequity of it all?

    • Can't Fix Stupid

      I would like to know how someone who is illegal is supposed to pay taxes with no Social Security number. Do they go to the tax office and just hand them money? That’s is yet another line of B. S. that this bill has incorporated.

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