In-state Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Debated in Maryland

Maryland residents have pulled together a successful petition drive to keep a previously passed in-state college tuition bill from taking effect on July 1. The petition aims to keep illegal immigrants in the state from qualifying for in-state tuition, according to multiple reports.

The plan, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, would allow illegal immigrants to graduate from a state high school to qualify for in-state tuition rates for Maryland public universities. However, opponents argue that the plan is not affordable, especially since graduates would still be illegal immigrants that could not be legally hired in the state.

The goal of the petition is to put the issue up for a public vote in November 2012.

Those who back the law point to stipulations that require immigrants to obtain permanent residency within 30 days of becoming eligible for the in-state tuition. In addition, male students must register for the Selective Service. The students must also prove their parents file tax returns and they must complete two years of community college before transferring to a public university.

Like Maryland, Massachusetts is struggling with similar legislation. Governor Deval Patrick recently urged lawmakers to allow in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, the Boston Globe reports.

“Keep in mind we’re talking about real people – individuals, students and families – whose ambitions are caught up in the only community in most cases that they know,” Patrick said before the Joint Committee on Higher Education.