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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Immigrant tuition breaks prompt Md. suit

By Daniel de Vise

Updated at noon Thursday with statement from Montgomery College.

A Maryland lawmaker says he will announce a lawsuit against Montgomery College on Thursday challenging the institution's practice of charging lower fees tuition to illegal immigrants who live in the county.

Del. Patrick McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, stirred debate about immigrant education policy last fall when he asked state prosecutors to investigate whether the state's largest community college is breaking the law by allowing illegal immigrants to enroll as residents and claim the tuition discount.

It's an unusual policy. Some Virginia public universities don't even allow admission to illegal immigrants. Schools that do enroll such students generally charge them higher non-resident tuition.

Virginia and Maryland have pursued opposite legislative paths on the issue, with Maryland lawmakers repeatedly trying and failing to secure resident tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and Virginia legislators trying and failing to bar illegal immigrants from public higher education (a package of bills is now in play, according to colleague Fredrick Kunkle).

William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said in an interview Wednesday that he supports the idea of charging resident fees to public school graduates, legal or not. Illegal immigrants are allowed free public education through grade 12. To then deny them resident fees in college would be "illogical," he said.

"I think it is not in our nation's interest to miss out on the opportunity to educate larger numbers of people," he said.

McDonough has called a press conference for 2 p.m. Thursday in Annapolis to announce the legal filing and the results of the investigation into the college's policy, according to a release.

The conference "will be only the first step toward both a civil and a criminal investigation into the unlawful activities in Montgomery County that impact all taxpayers in Maryland," McDonough said in the statement.

The release does not say whether a suit has already been filed or, if so, in what court. The lawmaker says he will be joined at the conference by Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.

Montgomery College grants tuition breaks to illegal immigrants under a policy that charges local fees tuition to any recent graduate of the county's public high schools. Tuition totals $321 for a three-credit course, compared with $657 for Marylanders from other counties and $897 for everyone else.

The college said Thursday in a statement, "As the community's college, Montgomery College proudly provides everyone with open access to higher education in Montgomery County . . . Delegate Pat McDonough (Baltimore and Harford Counties) does not represent Montgomery County, nor has he sought to visit Montgomery College and learn about our students."

College officials say their policy follows the law.

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By Daniel de Vise  | January 19, 2011; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Access, Community Colleges, Litigation, Public policy  | Tags:  Maryland colleges illegal immigrants, Montgomery College illegal immigrants, illegal immigrant college students, illegal immigrant college tuition  
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Comments

William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said in an interview Wednesday that he supports the idea of charging resident fees to public school graduates, legal or not. Illegal immigrants are allowed free public education through grade 12. To then deny them resident fees in college would be "illogical," he said.

No continuing to ignore a law and never enforcing it is illogical. Giving breaks and amnesty to people who have broken the law is illogical.

Posted by: meatkins | January 19, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Montgomery College grants tuition breaks to illegal immigrants under a policy that charges local fees to any recent graduate of the county's public high schools. Those fees total $321 for a three-credit course, compared with $657 for Marylanders from other counties and $897 for everyone else."

Chancellor Kirwan believes this is logical?

Posted by: menopausequeen | January 19, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

we must help nicely. Illegals are citizens too if they pay taxes and support the local economy. Get over it.

Posted by: childrenalways1st | January 19, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Montgomery College keeps begging for money from Montgomery County and continues to be severely overcrowded.

The county government is in dire fiscal condition.

The most logical action to take would be to deny illegals entirely from attending Montgomery College - and to deport them as quickly as possible.

Posted by: postisarag | January 19, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

BS! Foreign students have to apply to colleges, be accepted, get ALL of their tuition together then apply for a student visa in their home country BEFORE they can even set foot in a US college. To give illegals a "free pass" for admission and tuition is unfair and totally reprehensibile!

Posted by: jameon | January 19, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

we must help nicely. Illegals are citizens too if they pay taxes and support the local economy. Get over it.

Posted by: childrenalways1st


No, they are not citizens. They are still illegally in this country. That is why they are referred to as illegal immigrants. Your logic is astounding!

Posted by: Edie3 | January 20, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

No, illegals are NOT citizens, under any circumstances.

And it is "illogical" to give preferential treatment to lawbreakers who take unfair advantage of Americans.

We need to stop giving illegals free education from K-12, and we need to stop with the free meals, housing and whatever other benefits and breaks they receive.

*Legal* immigrants are very welcome. Illegal aliens who break our laws and wreak economic, social and cultural havoc must no longer get a free ride. At our colleges or anywhere else in the U.S.!

Posted by: wmpowellfan | January 20, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

William E. 'Brit' Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, said in an interview Wednesday that he supports the idea of charging resident fees to public school graduates, legal or not. Illegal immigrants are allowed free public education through grade 12. To then deny them resident fees in college would be 'illogical,' he said.

'I think it is not in our nation's interest to miss out on the opportunity to educate larger numbers of people,' he said.
----------
Is Dr. Kirwan going to do away with out-of-state and foreign student tuition? That would be the logical course IF he really wants to educate larger numbers of people. Of course, many states have been reducing the number of in-state slots and admitting more out-of-state and foreign students because they pay higher tuition. How nice of Dr. Kirwan to be so generous with other people's money in funding illegal aliens at the expense of Americans and legal foreign students.

By the way, does the good doctor realize that illegal aliens even with a degree from a MD university are NOT eligible to work legally in this country? And why should they be? After all, LEGAL foreign students are required to show their intent to return to their homelands in order to get a NON immigrant foreign student visa.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 20, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

we must help nicely. Illegals are citizens too if they pay taxes and support the local economy. Get over it.

Posted by: childrenalways1st
---------
Get over it. Illegal aliens are NOT citizens of this country no matter how many taxes they "pay". Nor are they even legal residents of this country. Furthermore, by displacing Americans from jobs, they also displace Americans from paying taxes and from consumption, thereby placing a double whammy on those of us still working: we pay unemployment and welfare to support Americans who are displaced by illegal aliens, as well as taxes to provide "free" education and "free" healthcare to illegal aliens.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 20, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

If you are upset about what Montgomery College is doing, please contact Del. Pat McDonough at 410-238-0025 as you can help him by supporting his package of 22 bills that are designed to follow the rule of law in this state.

In particular, you can testify FOR his bills which require all colleges and universities in the state to clear all applicants through the SAVE system before they can be granted in-state tuition.

Also, you can testify AGAINST any in-state DREAM bills which assist the illegal alien while the citizen goes unnoticed.

Posted by: politicalregister | January 22, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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