At least the Maryland GOP is paying attention to the issue, and I like the angle they use on their press release:
Fund Public Safety, Not Illegal Immigration
Recently, Governor Martin O’Malley announced the closure of the Maryland state police barrack in Annapolis. O’Malley claims that his budget priorities do not allow a state police barrack in our state capital any longer.
Tomorrow, the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing on House Bill 1236, which would qualify illegal immigrants for in-state tuition rates at Maryland’s state colleges and universities. Senate Bill 591 is the companion bill in the Senate. Through their own actions, Democrats are placing a higher priority on providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants than providing for the public safety of our legal citizens.
Current law requires that a person have legal residency in the state of Maryland for one year prior to qualifying for in-state tuition rates. House Bill 1236 and Senate Bill 591 would continue imposing the one-year legal residency requirement on U.S. citizens, but would not impose that requirement on those illegally in the U.S. House Bill 1236 has 41 co-sponsors (including local Delegate Rudy Cane of District 37A – editor), Senate Bill 591 has 10 co-sponsors, and Governor Martin O’Malley expressed support for last year’s effort to qualify illegal immigrants for in-state tuition rates.
Last year, Maryland citizens voiced their opposition to rewarding illegal immigrants with in-state tuition benefits. Legislators were inundated with phone calls, e-mails, and letters from constituents. These legislators put off the legislation until this year with the hope that they could quietly put through the legislation without much opposition.
Dr. Jim Pelura, Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, released the following statement:
“It is a terrible commentary on the O’Malley Administration and the Democrat leadership that they would rather fund in-state tuition discounts for illegal immigrants than to fund our state police. They are cutting funding for those who enforce the laws and increasing the funding for those who break the laws. Where are their priorities?
“House Bill 1236 and Senate Bill 591 would grant in-state tuition benefits to those who have willfully broken the law and would provide illegal immigrants rights not even afforded to U.S. citizens. In addition, if this legislation becomes law, Maryland families would have to compete with illegal immigrants for the limited number of in-state tuition slots. Plain and simple – that is wrong.
“Democrats in the General Assembly should stop this foolishness. Governor O’Malley should stand on the side of the rule of law and announce that he will veto House Bill 1236, Senate Bill 591, or any similar legislation that would qualify illegal immigrants for in-state tuition rates. O’Malley should restore funding for our state police and get his priorities right.”
In the interest of fairness, I went to the Democrats’ website to see what they had to say about the matter:
I thought with all those sponsors and Governor O’Malley’s support, they’d be happy to justify their bill. But I suppose not.
Of course, it might not be a bad idea to have a word with those on the Ways and Means Committee about this bill. The General Assembly main phone number is (800) 492-7122, and the Delegates’ 4-digit extension follows their name. Their committee’s roster of Delegates is as follows:
- Delegate Sheila Hixson, Chair (3469)
- Delegate Ann Marie Doory, Vice-Chair (3476)
- Delegate Joe Bartlett (3080)
- Delegate Kumar Barve, Majority Leader (3464)
- Delegate Jon Cardin (3833)
- Delegate Page Elmore (3433)
- Delegate Bill Frick (3454)
- Delegate Ron George (3439)
- Delegate James Gilchrist (3744)
- Delegate Carolyn Howard (3919)
- Delegate Jolene Ivey (3478)
- Delegate J.B. Jennings (3698)
- Delegate Anne Kaiser (3036)
- Delegate Susan Krebs (3200)
- Delegate Peter Murphy (3247)
- Delegate John Olszewski (3458)
- Delegate Craig Rice (3090)
- Delegate Justin Ross (3652)
- Delegate Melvin Stukes (3544)
- Delegate Frank Turner (3246)
- Delegate Jay Walker (3581)
For e-mail the format for each is (firstname).(lastname)@house.state.md.us – that’s how I’ll have my say. We’ll see how these folks respond.