FREDERICK, MD - The Maryland General Assembly passed a law in 2011 giving in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.
However, Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott has been hard at work collecting signatures and getting the measure on November's ballot as a referendum.
"If you're legal in the country and you're an alien, you have to pay the out-of-state rates for going to school in Maryland, but if you're illegal and you're an alien and you want to go to school, then you're going to pay the in-state tuition rate, which means we're paying for two-thirds of the college tuition. It's just not fair," said Parrott, (R) - Washington County.
Parrott doesn't think it's fair for taxpayers to have to go into their wallets and spend their money when legal residents in nearby states have to pay out-of-state tuition.
"For instance, if an illegal alien went to the University of Maryland College Park, the taxpayers would be paying for over $16,000 dollars per year per illegal alien," Parrott said.
Frederick immigration lawyer Robert Barry Toth says the issue isn't that simple.
"The law itself requires that the people that ally for this prove that their parents have paid taxes, state taxes, for the last three years, and they're continuing to pay taxes," Toth said.
Toth believes children of illegal immigrants should get in-state tuition since their parents, not them, were the ones to come into the country illegally.
"Looking at it from a humanitarian standpoint, I think why are we being mean to children," Toth said. "What does that say about us as a society, as a people?"
Maryland voters will get to make the final call when they vote on question 4 next month. It will read:
(Ch. 191 of the 2011 Legislative Session)
Public Institutions of Higher Education - Tuition Rates
Establishes that individuals, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges in Maryland, provided the student meets certain conditions relating to attendance and graduation from a Maryland high school, filing of income taxes, intent to apply for permanent residency, and registration with the selective service system (if required); makes such students eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at a four-year public college or university if the student has first completed 60 credit hours or graduated from a community college in Maryland; provides that students qualifying for in-state tuition rates by this method will not be counted as in-state students for purposes of counting undergraduate enrollment; and extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates.
For the Referred Law"
To read the law the legislature passed, click here.
Thursday in part four of WHAG's Maryland ballot series, we'll show you the congressional redistricting map referendum.
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