Maryland Legislature Votes To Guarantee In-State Tuition To Undocumented Immigrants

While each new day brings news of Arizona pursuing a new right-wing anti-immigrant policy, or other states following Arizona’s lead, Maryland is making news by moving the other way.  The Maryland legislature voted this week to guarantee in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley is expected to sign the bill.  Supporters won support for the bill by including a provision that will steer undocumented students toward community colleges, instead of the state’s flagship school, the University of Maryland.  Students will have to enroll at a community college for two years, thus excluding them from the competitive freshman enrollment process.

The Washington Post reports that, “In this legislative session alone, at least eight states took up bills to extend in-state tuition to illegal immigrants and as many considered bills to deny it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maryland is the only state this year to pass a bill extending benefits.”  Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia have already moved to deny in-state tuition to undocumented students, and South Carolina bans them from even enrolling in the state’s colleges.

Undocumented students are not eligible for aid or scholarships, so tuition breaks offer these students possibly their only hope of attending college.  “Proponents of tuition breaks say such laws are both ethical and practical.  Illegal immigrant families pay taxes that fund resident subsidies, they say, and denying them college access arguably hurts the local economy.”  The federal DREAM Act has no chance of passing the Republican controlled House, so it’s good to see that some individual states recognize the value in making college available for all residents, regardless of immigration status.

Photo Credit: WAMU

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Noah Kaplan is the Senior Executive Editor for Online Content. He is a 3L at Harvard Law School focusing on constitutional law and criminal procedure. He has interned at the Boston United States Attorney's Office and the Colorado Attorney's General's Office. Before law school, Noah taught 4th grade as a Teach for America corps member in Phoenix, Arizona.

Latest comments
  • AMAZING! Illegal aliens don’t belong in this country and Maryland votes to give the illegal aliens in-state tuition. What a disgrace! What they should be doing is passing laws to get rid of the illegal aliens like other state are doing.

    • you are nothing but a racist ignorant and inconsideret person. first of all this coutry will be nothing with out spanish people who does all the dirty work that all you lazy people wont do ? who works the hardest and gets things done the fatest and at times even better than what others will we pay taxes and spend money as well as you all do and with out spanish people the united states economy will be down to the floor spnish people could all unite and take over this country because there is a lot of spanish people here but spnish people dont do that because thats not what they are here for they are here because they cant have a good life in their countries becaus they want to give their kids a better life and education and they want to live better lifes not because they are trying to take anything away from you guys open your damn eyes and stop being so ignorant because first of all this isnt even your damn country this country belongs to the indians the ones who found it and first walked on this country a while ago stop being so selfish and realize how bad this country will be with out all this spanish people its doesnt matter where your from we are all humans and desrve the same rights. and you know what its stupid how you all dont agree with spanish people coming here but yet you guys can go to spanish courties and no spanish countries miss treat you guys or kick you out most of the times you are welcome. their is spanish students in this country that get better grades than any of you and that are very smart and hardworking but just because they dont have a social security number they can go to to college and become the next best doctor or whatever. this country has some of the most stupid people ever !

      • Ahh Andrea….Isn’t it wonderful… multiculturalism in action. The ..real.. meaning of multiculturalism right here in the Harvard Law Review. It is wonderful.

        But it would be far, far more wonderful if we could have a direct method of gonging the people who pass such laws right out of office.

  • Maryland citizens will have the final word as to whether or not illegal alien students receive in-state college tuition.

  • The politicians of Maryland are not representing the conscience or interest of their constituents. They voted for the Dream Act to stay in office by securing the Latino vote.

    Second, Maryland has made it more appealing for illegal aliens to flock to Maryland. We will be giving in state tuition to aliens that have no right to be here while we will not give the same rate to a US Citizen from any other state. Further, Maryland taxpayers are subsidizing the reduced tuition and no matter what anyone says, all colleges have a finite number of seats. Illegal aliens will be stealing seats away from US Citizens and legal immigrants. So Maryland is promoting the wellfare of the illegal aliens at the expense of people that belong here and are entitled to every benefit available. How are you not seeing this?

    I’m all for higher education but how can you expect us to pay/subsidize for illegal aliens to obtain higher educations when we can’t afford to pay for our own kids to attend? Why don’t these adult illegal aliens return to their home counties for a higher education? And how in the world are the parents of these Dream Act recipients filling tax returns without having valid social security numbers? Remember, they are illegal aliens too.

  • Your argument has so many holes sir.

    “if the legislators are acting to secure the Latino vote, they are representing their constituents.”

    Illegal immigrants (the correct term) are not their constituents. Voters and american legal residents are. They are the representation of the Aamerican people, not Illegal immigrants. The vote of one american citizen needs to outweigh the wishes of even 1M illegals, since anyone choosing to represent non-americans over americans is essentially in office siding with th needs of foreign nations. IE Traitor.

    Next, anything you do to make you state comfortable for illegal aliens will attract them will do just that.

    Next, this is prevent a permnant underclass you say? But they can only goto CC? Sounds hypocritical. And shouldn’t criminals be an underclass? We cry caus they hide in the shadows…right on TV in marches, nice shadows.

    But isnt someone breaking US Federal law suppose to hide from authorities?

    Lastly, the liberal argument about “they pay taxes” is such a sad lie. Sales taxes? Can we all please only pay sales taxes and that counts as good enough?

    You get our tres secratary (tax evader) to send every american back their federal and state taxes for the last 10 years, and then wed be on even ground with the illegals.

    Perhaps you should be my family of legal hispanic immigrants whos wages get depressed by the illegals hired in every corner of blue collar america?

    Perhaps when we allow illegal immigrants free access to harvard or allow them to run for congress….then when its the “ruling class” losing their job or having to compete with criminals/leeches they will wake up to the negative effects of 20Million people who can change ID’s, operate with no SS# and close down over a dozen south california hostpitals in the last 5 years due to bankrupting the health care system so many “University” liberals say is so urgently in need of help.

      • You can make up all the words you want, and all the definitions you want. But folks.. if you are going to use them in a publication or a paper, make sure you look them up before you insert your feet in your mouth.

        Illegal immigration
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Illegal immigration is the migration of foreign citizens into a country in circumstances where such people do not meet the legal requirements for immigrating in that country, that is, when they are violating the immigration laws of that jurisdiction.

        It is usually called “illegal immigration,” however the term “irregular immigration” is now considered the preferred terminology by international governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the United Nations agency the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and others.[1][2][3][4] “Unauthorized immigration” is another term which is occasionally used to refer to this form of migration. The term “undocumented immigration” is used as well, though it is considered less inclusive than “irregular immigration.”[5]

  • I just want to write in and thank Noah for adding sense to what seem to be nothing more than racist, gut-reaction comments with little reason involved. The world needs more open-minded, thoughtful people like yourself.

    What many people fail to realize is that most undocumented students that are seeking to attend college and better their lives did not choose to come to America, they were brought here by their parents or other family members. While I can say that the parents have done illegal acts, I cannot say so for the children. I do not know any child who can comprehend the notion that “if I do what my parents tell me, I am breaking the immigration laws of the United States of America.” I do no know any DREAMer who understood this notion and consciously objected to immigrate to the United States illegally.

    I am certain that any opposition to this or other laws aiding these students is not from a sense of justice or legality but rather an underlying racism which has always been a part of American tradition. None of your gut-reaction, immigration opposing, views are new. Maybe you should all do some research into our failed attempts to exclude Catholics, Germans, Irish (I’m sure you’re all familiar with patty wagons), Asians such as the Chinese (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882) and the Japanese and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of our issues with African Americans (there was a point where they were not citizens either).

    Despite my lack of faith in our current Congress, due to many failed attempts to pass the DREAM Act and afford remedy to these otherwise law-abiding citizens, I am confident that as history tends to repeat itself, these anti-immigrant laws and views will be overcome when we find someone new to hate. Some have suggested that homosexuals will be our new target but who knows.

    While I find it sad that our nation continues to be troubled by waves of hatred and racism. It is only a matter of time before America’s popular movements decide it is time to hate someone else.

    Thank you Noah for countering these age-old attitudes with cold hard facts and truths.

  • Respecto a la ley que da como alterntiva y como derecho supremo la inscripcion de los indocumentados a inscribirse a una institucion educativa y recibir clases conforme a la curricula que se le imponga, es a mi juicio valida, toda vez que se ve reflejado en el, el principio universal reconocido en los tratados internacionales como es la proteccion integral de niño y del adolescente que no es otra cosa “que el interes superior del niño y adolescente” sobre cualquier norma, lo que deverian siempre cautelar las autoridades, que en la actualidad hacen caso omiso, y espero que ahora los estado que recogen dicha ley la apliquen sin discriminacion alguna indistintamente de la procedecia de las familias ilegales que residen en ese país.

  • With regard to the law that gives illegal immigrants an option and a supreme right to enroll in an educational institution and receive classes according to the curriculum being imposed, in my opinion it is valid, since it is reflects a universally recognized principle in international treaties that integral to the protection of children and adolescents is “that the best interests of children and adolescents” is above all else, which the authorities currently ignore, and I hope that now the state will apply the law without any discrimination irrespective of the illegal status of families residing in that country.