Maryland: In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants?

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Despite the failure of the DREAM Act, California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Utah are proposing making college degrees a little easier for illegal immigrants to obtain.

Maryland is the latest state to join the group. According to an article by Shankar Vedanta in the Washington Post:

Maryland would offer in-state college tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants who have attended state high schools and whose parents are taxpayers if a measure being proposed by state Democrats becomes law.

The proposal, which will be introduced by Sen.-elect Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s) when the General Assembly convenes next month, is certain to generate controversy at a time of heated debate about illegal immigration, gaping state budget shortfalls, and intense competition for coveted spots at the University of Maryland and other state universities.

Maryland only has about 250,000 undocumented immigrants total, so the number of people who are likely qualified for in-state tuition under the proposed law is rather limited.

Maryland’s legislature approved a similar bill back in 2003 but Republican governor Robert Ehrlich vetoed it. His successor, the Democratic current governor, Martin O’Malley, is more likely to approve the new bill, however.

Some legislators object: “The citizens of Maryland do not offer in-state tuition to their fellow Americans” who aren’t state residents. “Why would we offer in-state tuition to people who violated our laws to get here?” asked Republican Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell rhetorically.

Well actually it’s most their parents who are responsible for violating the Old Line State’s sacred laws, but whatever.

Let’s see how far this bill goes. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer