Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bill allowing some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition passes Maryland Senate

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A measure allowing some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland passed the Maryland Senate on Monday.

The bill passed 27-20 still must be approved by the House of Delegates before going to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has said he would sign it.

During debate, Sen. Victor Ramirez, the bill sponsor who immigrated legally as a child from El Salvador, told opponents that voting against the bill would not solve problems relating to people living illegally in the state. He said the legislation was needed to help people who live here reach their potential and contribute as much as possible to the state.

“It’s about education,” Ramirez, D-Prince George’s, said. “It’s not about immigration.”

The financial implications for students are significant. In-state tuition is $8,416 annually, and out-of-state students pay $24,831 a year.

Opponents said the legislation raised the issue of who subsidizes the education of illegal immigrants covered by the legislation, not whether or not they can attend college.

“I think this sends a terrible message to everyone in the state that you can break the law and you can get a benefit,” said Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard...[Full Article]