Challenging Flawed Legislation
Let’s cut to the chase – the bill passed last month by our General Assembly, Public Institutions of Higher Education – Tuition Rates – Exemptions (SB 167/HB 460), not only contravenes federal law, but it harms all citizens in the State of Maryland – both personally and financially.
The following are a quick list of bullet points to outline some of the problems contained in this piece of legislation:
· To get around the federal law, states that have passed in-state tuition benefits for undocumented immigrants have crafted legislation that bases eligibility on where a student went to high school, not immigration status. (Fiscal and Policy Note SB 167)
· This bill passed by a slim majority (74 – 65) in the House of Delegates and (27 – 20) in the Maryland Senate sets Maryland up to be one of the leading sanctuary states in the country. (http://MDPetition.com/)
· In Maryland alone, taxpayers pay over $1 billion a year on illegal immigrants for K-12 education, medical expenses, and incarceration; and we cannot pass more laws that encourage illegal aliens to come here. (http://MDPetition.com/)
· This bill will increase Maryland expenses in the future – by fiscal 2016, the additional general fund expenditures resulting from the bill may exceed $3.5 million. (Fiscal and Policy Note) [estimated on the low-side using only Montgomery College]
· With a structural deficit over $1.1 billion, Maryland cannot afford these benefits for illegal immigrants, (“someone who goes to live or work in another country when they do not have the legal right to do this.” Cambridge Dictionary).
· Marylanders struggle to afford to send their own children to college in Maryland – this bill uses their tax dollars to pay for people who are not here legally to go to college.
· Granting in-state rates to illegal immigrants will take spots away from Marylanders who wish to go to college. – or – the price of college tuition will rise for everyone. If the ratio of in-state tuition students rises, then the income for the universities from tuition payments will decrease significantly. (http://MDPetition.com/)
· Paying over 50% of the tuition costs for illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to both new Americans who have taken the time and effort to become lawful U.S. citizens, and to students from other states who attend a Maryland college, paying the full tuition cost. (http://MDPetition.com/)
· Many Maryland colleges are full to capacity. (http://MDPetition.com/)
· This will give $6,000 of taxpayer money to illegal immigrants to attend Frederick Community College. [$3,621 in-county v. $9,621out-of-state (Fiscal and Policy Note)]
Dealing with this abridgement of the law comes in many fashions. For instance, in New Jersey, Judicial Watch was able to end this unlawful policy by simply sending a letter.
Indeed, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Judicial Watch sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for CCM [County College of Morris] challenging the school’s policy of providing discounted tuition for “undocumented” [immigrants]. CCM immediately informed Judicial Watch that it had commenced a review of its tuition policy. And one week later, the school’s trustees voted to overturn a policy they had established just two months prior.
While this approach may not work in Maryland, you can help in other ways.
In an effort to include all the people of Maryland, Delegate Neil Parrott (Washington), Delegate Patrick McDonough (Baltimore/Harford), (along with Minority leader Delegate Anthony O’Donnell (Southern Maryland) have been joined by numerous Republicans, Democrats and Tea Party groups throughout the state to initiate a petition drive to take this bill to referendum.
At many events, numerous volunteers will have paper petitions available to sign. Even though the state GOP is on board with this grass-roots movement, the local Central Committee chairman and a couple other members seem to believe this is not in their purview. How a political party-based organization could come to that conclusion is beyond comprehension – but, be that as it may, there is hope that this grass roots effort will garner enough signatures to take the bill to referendum.
Another opportunity will take place on May 12th when Kris Kobach will be speaking locally. Mr. Kobach has been an avid supporter of handling our broken illegal immigrant problems. This meeting will be well advertized, so keep your ears and eyes open for time and place.
Another opportunity exists that is unlike any other past petition drive in Maryland. You can also sign this petition online! Simply go to http://MDPetition.com/ and follow the directions on that web page. Your voter registration information, (and those in your household) will be automatically updated into the form and all you have to do is print it out, sign it, and mail it to: Delegate Neil Parrott, P.O. Box 32, Funkstown, Maryland 21734. Please follow the directions precisely; opponents of this petition will be looking for any dot or tittle they can use to discredit a signature!
Never before has Maryland seen such an effort, nor one using the most advanced technology. No one has any excuse for not getting involved and overturning this seriously flawed legislation.
For once, We the People of Maryland can actively show the people in Annapolis what is just and right.