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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Md. lawmakers set to debate in-state tuition bill

By Ann E. Marimow

Hundreds of students gathered outside the State House in Annapolis this week to try to build support for one of the most high-profile immigration bills of the legislative session. Lawmakers on Wednesday morning are set to debate a measure that would give illegal immigrants a path to paying in-state tuition at Maryland's four-year colleges and universities.

Maryland would join 10 other states, including California, New York and Texas, in giving these students tuition breaks.

A similar bill passed Maryland's General Assembly in 2003 but was vetoed by former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Since then, the national debate over illegal immigration has intensified and the competition for slots at some of Maryland's universities has increased.

In the face of opposition, advocates have had to accept a scaled-back version of the original proposal. Maryland high school graduates, regardless of immigration status, would initially be eligible for in-county tuition breaks at community colleges. Those who receive an associate's degree could then transfer to one of the state's four-year institutions and pay the in-state rate - an average savings of about $10,000 a year.

In the Senate, where debate begins Wednesday, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George's), said he expects the measure will have the backing of a majority of legislators. But he is not certain there are 29 votes needed to cut off debate if opponents attempt to filibuster.

"What are we afraid of?" Ramirez said Tuesday. "We're giving people an opportunity to go to school."

In a preview of the debate, Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's) said Republican legislators object to the anticipated increase in state funding that would accompany an expansion in community college enrollment. A legislative analysis projects an increase in state aid of about $780,000 in fiscal 2014.

Pipkin said he has also been inundated with emotional phone calls and e-mail messages from constituents frustrated by the idea that illegal immigrants could "bump legal residents out of the in-state pool." "There's a fairness question," he said.

By Ann E. Marimow  | March 8, 2011; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow, General Assembly  
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Giving tuition breaks to ILLEGAL aliens when an American citizens from the next state over pays out of state tuition and foreign students legally here pay unbelievably high international student rates is unbelievable! The government keeps twisting the knife in the back of the middle class! I am so sick of paying for these leeches from Mexico and central America. Businesses are willing to break the law hiring illegals... our government is willing to break the law by not enforcing it and giving amnesty to illegal trespassers... crime is just the norm in the US, as the entire economy swirls down the toilet, never to be seen again....

Posted by: mayaying | March 8, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Tuition for illegal aliens should not be granted not for college we give them a break when their children attend our public schools taking away sits for American children who is waiting on the list to enroll.

Do you think their countries would do half the stuff that America has done for their people.

What's the point of having laws if no one is going obey by them.

Posted by: dtyler | March 8, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Why are we giving rights to illegals , people that broke the laws, has no respect for American sovereignty, and continue to walk the streets,we have no idea who they are, 46% is the percentage federal auth. say are criminals.This only fosters illegal immigration, when grant or give more rights to this group of people.We as Americans must realize that illegal immigration is killing this country in so many ways,the secruity of this country is at stake.
I ask the elected officials of this great nation to take a harder stand on this plague, before this country is ruined.
The demise of a country starts with its laws, illegal is illegal, and its up to every citizen who loves this nation to stand up for her, we are being invaded, at a cost to Americans of 87 billion a year ,free education, welfare, health care, and other social services.
Notify your elected officials and say no, enforce 287G, e-verify make it mandatory for every , city, state, business to enforce these laws.
LTC.Allen West, talks about the secruity of this country ,how terrorist and Mexican cartels are working together,and how training camps are in up state NY,GA and several other states.
Wake up America, we have soft hearted liberals in office , who is only concerned with big business(cheap labor), and kissing everbody butt in the world, apologizing for everything under the sun.

Posted by: catt1 | March 8, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there are colleges and universities in their home countries. They can attend school there.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 8, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

To me the time has come to revisit Plyler v Doe. I do not understand why the Supreme Court said that people who are here illegally have the right to a public education. I have read the constitution and the various amendments and could not find one reference to the designating public education as a right. This is one the Supreme Court got wrong. Hopefully, we will end this practice of educating illegal immigrants in the near future and save hard working American citizen taxpayers untold billions of dollars.

Posted by: jeffreed | March 8, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

When the majority of States have massive deficits, how on earth can Maryland afford to subsidize illegal alien students? California--the sour cream of Sanctuary States is trying to raise taxes, because they are burdened with a major population of foreign nationals bleeding it dry. Currently the Golden State is carrying a 24 billion dollar treasury debt. What gives politicians the right to steal our money, to support foreign labor and their extended families, when we cannot properly support our own? America has the highest debt ever in its history and Liberal progressives, Democrats and even a few Republicans expect us to suffer, in the name of being "politically Correct" They all need to be tarred and feathered and thrown out of office. Join a local TEA Party that is fighting the Tax and Spend lawmakers. Fax for free your leaders at NumbersUSA.

Posted by: infinity555 | March 8, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Why do our politicians continue to spit in our faces? The majority of U.S. citizens do not even want illegals in our country. OH THAT'S RIGHT our government is owned by the corporations who in turn hate legal citizens because we want livable wages. Their billions in profits a year just aren't enough for them. They need to hire illegals and outsource the rest of the jobs to foreign countries.

Taxation without representation. MD is using TO much of our tax dollars to support illegals. When are we going to march on Annapolis and do something about it? Remove those traitors from their post.

Posted by: howduyudo | March 8, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Foreigners here illegally are bankrupting America, especially our education system, as Democrats cheer them on. Rhode Island had to fire all their teachers because the money is just not there anymore. U.S. TAXPAYERS CANNOT AFFORD TO AND SHOULD NOT SUPPORT OUR FOREIGN INVADERS!!! WE MUST GET RID OF THESE TRAITOR POLITICIANS IN 2012!!!

Posted by: TaxpayerCitizenMom | March 9, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

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