BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s new law extending in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants could be headed to referendum. Leaders of the drive to put the issue on next year’s ballot say they are close to clearing the first hurdle.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the latest developments in this controversial case.

It’s been 20 years since anybody was able to get a state law up for referendum, but supporters of the petition drive say this is just the issue that could do that.

Voices raised during the 2011 legislative session convinced lawmakers to re-write rules and allow undocumented students to pay the same tuition rates as legal residents of the state.

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

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said one person.

But supporters of a drive to put the issue on the ballot say it’s not right to extend in-state tuition to students who can’t prove they are legal residents of the state.

“It’s bad policy, it’s bad for legal citizens,” said another person.

Casa de Maryland is not focusing on the petition, but organizers for the referendum tell WJZ that they are close to getting the required signatures needed by May 31.

“We are very close to what we need for the first target and we would like to get 5,000 to 10,000 petition signatures this week which would more than guarantee we’re going to make it,” said one organizer.

More than 18,000 valid signatures must be presented to the state board of elections May 31 in order to move to phase 2.

A spokeswoman for Casa de Maryland would say only that it continues to believes the law is good and will be upheld.

A total of 55,736 valid signatures are needed by June 30 to put the immigrant tuition on the 2012 ballot.

Comments (37)
  1. sheriff says:

    The state will pick the rat s…..t out of a comb to stop this. Now is the time to have your voices heard. Vote with your pen or computer. Put this to a referendum ballot & let the people of Md decide instead of some willy Nilly legislators who it never will affect their personal lives like the rest of us Marylanders. O’Malley in the alley has gone too far.

  2. Pat says:

    I am for it going to referendem and before the voters which is why I signed the petition by going to ( online. It was simple to download and enabled me a tax paying legal citizen to exercise my rights as a legal law abiding citizen of this country!

  3. nancy says:

    Why should our LEGAL children seeking higher education have to compeat with Illegals. O’mally calls them new Americans, these people aren’t stupid, they don’t want to be Americans, they see how the goverment treats their citizens. They know they get a whole lot better treatment being illegal. This will never hit the air but I at least had my say.

  4. Jeff Werner says:

    All of you are correct. THank you.

  5. Francis says:

    Instate tuition for college for illegal immigrants after having had free tuition in elementary, middle and high school, because I doubt any of them went to private schools. Enough is enough from my taxes. The easier the entitlement the more will they come. And O’Malley thinks that they will stay in MD?!

  6. Bob says:

    Last time I checked it was illegal to work in Maryland if you were an illegal. (At least that is what immigration says when they come to look at my personel files). So how is it then that “This will allow us to have a more highly educated workforce in our state which is good for all of us,” if illegals cant work here in the first place? Is he planning on making them all legals once they get a degree? Maryland’s schools are already crowded enough with legal aliens, we don’t need to give the illegal ones anything more then a one way ticket back to where they came from!

  7. me says:

    Please sign this petition. Voice your opinion!! I normally don’t comment on sites like this, but I feel very strongly about this issue. Why should illegals be allowed the same rights? We need to look out for the future of our state and our children.

    1. pat says:

      Go to online, download the form, sign it, fold the envelope they provide, stamp it and mail it! Instead of complaining, be proactive and make a difference!

  8. Liz says:

    I have already signed it and posted the link on my facebook page. It is also my first form of political activism in many years, but I this is an issue that the legal people of Maryland must speak up against. My husband’s business would be fined significantly for employing illegals, yet they can go to school for free until 12th grade and at an in-state rate for college? This is absurd!

  9. Debbie says:

    Congratulations to the legal citizens of MD for standing up to officials who IGNORED us and voted for this atrocity. Keep gathering names and vote to overturn this bill and the people who voted for it.

  10. Leonard says:

    Like with this issue and our foreign policies I still can’t understand what’s wrong with taking care of your own. I’d rather see the time, money and legislation go into making it easier to get our children and young adults and even older adults who seek an education that would make it easier, or less expensive. I simply don’t understand why we always have to extend our hand out side of our boarder, when people here are in need of a break some where some how. Our property tax and sales tax have gone up while our propertys sale value has gone down. But this is how our tax dollars are spent. Disgusting!!!

  11. Douglas El-Tigre Rivera says:

    SO your telling me that these kids who were forced into this country, since they had no choice when they were young, and then they were put into school and taught everything they need to know for about what..14 years (including pre-k and Kindergarden) and then they should stop there? What is the point of teaching them then? That would just mean that once they graduate high school they will just be going back to their country and using everything that US has taught them and using it some place else. That is a huge waste of money if you ask me…its like your paying for them to go back to their country to use what we have taught them here over there….YOU ALL SHOULD OPEN YOUR EYES….

    1. Bob says:

      Douglas, Your point is my point exactly. Keep them out of grade school as well! I don’t want one penny of my tax money going to illegal criminals in this country! (Except to catch and deport them!) You open your eyes, WE DO NOT WANT ILLEGALS IN THIS COUNTRY FOR ANY REASON! If you want to come here follow the rules like any other law abiding immigrant!

      1. Douglas El-Tigre Rivera says:

        I would have to agree with you. Deport everyone. Especially those students who have become class valedictorian in high school and mastered their school work in Science and Math, the area that we so need so much here. Yup Send them back to their country. I mean its not like we payed for their education this far already, so just through it all away and just send them back to their country. Its not like we need them here in America or anything.

    2. Can't Fix Stupid says:

      Well, Douglas El-Tigre Rivera the LEGAL citizens do not owe you or them anything. In my opinion, they should not be allowed in our school system PERIOD if they are not LEGAL. The illegals in this State and Country are nothing but Parasites and you all should either be deported or thrown in jail. Illegal is illegal regardless of how you are here. ¿Entiende usted?

      We are standing up for OUR rights, which are the only ones that count at this point. American Citizens are sick and tired of being treated 2nd best. This is OUR COUNTRY!

    3. whatnow says:

      If they were forced into this country and had no choice, then when they turn 18, instead of going to college, let them go back to their country that they were ripped from as a child. They will be able to speak the language because they never bother to learn English!

    4. T says:

      If they used all the effort they’re expending protesting, printing t-shirts, making signs, etc into becoming LEGAL citizens, this wouldn’t even be an issue for them.

      They may have not had a choice as small children, but they do now. They are responsible for their lives. What they should be doing is following the legal process to obtain citizenship FIRST, versus rallying to get government to give them perks and benefits while they’re breaking federal law.

      Open YOUR eyes, sir.

  12. Tomika Snead says:

    How do I sign the petition.. I am a struggling college student why should we pay for illegal immigrants to go school.. Helll no…

    1. Douglas El-Tigre Rivera says:

      Your struggling in college because illegal immigrants are going to college?

      1. Me says:

        You are struggling cause the times are tough, not because we would be allowing another child to pay the discounted cost to go to college. No one is paying for them to go to school. Get your story straight!

    2. Me2 says:

      you go to this web site, download the forms, sign it and mail it.

  13. baltimorelady617 says:

    Thank you, for the laugh!!

  14. Jonathan Chiles says:

    just food for thought, why is it when you say illegal immigration, the first group of people you think of is Latino’s? Even the Latino’s think of Latino’s. Remember when they were going to have a Latino Strike back in the day when someone brought up Illegal immigration. I find it funny as hell… You know it’s bad when you don’t even have to say it, and they know it’s them. LOL

  15. whatnow says:

    Of course there is a story on the news now about how they are trying to kick this woman out of the country after she has lived here 20 years, worked, bought a house, had a child. They say she was allowed in LEGALLY because her country was war torn and she feared death. Now they want to kick her out because they say her country is not war torn anymore. I guess she is not welcome here because she is white and speaks English! What hypocrites our politicians are.

    1. oz says:

      Politicians only look out for themselves so we need to kick them out. RECALL O’MALLEY.! Let’s start a petition to recall the bum.

    2. MC says:

      Amen to that. Our country’s leaders are a joke.

    3. tim jones says:

      shhhhsss idiot box.

  16. Sheila McGrath says:

    When I told my daughter that every year she gets a letter from the state saying, you qualify for student aid from the state but we don/t have the money, so we have put you on a waiting list. She signed the petition.

  17. oz says:


  18. Billiam says:

    Mine is in the mail – Maryland needs to rise up and let the voice be heard from the citizenry here that we aren’t going to sit back and allow this to happen.

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